British Sugar says it has made a "multi-million-pound commitment" to help rain-soaked beet growers complete a "very difficult" harvest campaign.

The extremely rainy autumn and winter - the wettest six months on record for some farms - has bogged down the sugar beet harvest across East Anglia.

This has delayed the supply of beet into British Sugar's four factories at Cantley, on the Broads, Wissington in west Norfolk, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Newark in Nottinghamshire.

The firm has implemented a series of measures to complete the campaign, including slowing processing to extend the delivery window for farmers, hiring a new boiler at Cantley, and paying 75pc of the additional costs for growers to divert their crops to Cantley or Newark after the factories at Wissington and Bury closed for the season.

Eastern Daily Press: Dan Green, agriculture director for British SugarDan Green, agriculture director for British Sugar (Image: British Sugar)

Dan Green, agriculture director for British Sugar, said: "We are fully committed to helping growers bring in their crop to our factories.

“Following discussions with NFU Sugar (the National Farmers' Union's sugar board), British Sugar is meeting 75pc of the additional costs for those Bury and Wissington growers still to lift and deliver, to divert their beet to Cantley or Newark.

"In addition to this, we are also hiring an additional boiler at Cantley to increase throughput at that factory.

"This, coupled with the actions we’ve taken to deliberately slow down throughput at our factories, extending campaign by over 50 days, totals a multi-million-pound commitment by us in support of our growers.

“With Cantley and Newark due to finish their campaigns in early April, we continue to work together with our growers, harvesters and hauliers to bring the 2023/24 campaign to a close."

NFU Sugar, which represents beet growers, welcomed the announcements.

"It has been a difficult harvest for all growers this year, with the campaign coinciding with one of the wettest autumn and winter periods on record," it said.

"With growers incurring additional costs in lifting beet in these conditions, we are pleased that British Sugar has recognised the financial impact it could have had on growers to have to also cover the additional haulage costs in delivering beet to an alternative site.

"We recognise that the greater capacity that has been temporarily added at Cantley will also help reduce the risk of bottlenecks, allowing growers, contractors and hauliers to make the most of opportunities to lift."