WATCH: Giant beet-eating machines bring hundreds of farmers to Norfolk field
- Credit: Chris Hill
About 500 farmers from as far afield as Holland, Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall gathered in field outside Norwich to watch the latest sugar beet harvesters being put through their paces.
J Riley Beet Harvesters hosted its biennial working demonstration near the company's base in Attlebridge to showcase machine models developed by Dutch manufacturer Vervaet.
Farmers had the chance to inspect the engineering at close quarters, see the machines in action, and ask questions on the new technologies – and then discuss their potential purchase decisions over a hog roast.
One of the main attractions was the latest version of the Beet Eater 925 Evo nine-row harvester, working alongside the Beet Eater 625 Evo high-output six-row machine, and the Q-616, launched two years ago.
Company owner Jeremy Riley said: 'We do this event every two years to show all the latest products.
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'It is a good day. We think it is better than normal shows because people can see the machines operating, they can see them working, Whereas at a show it is all about kicking tyres, here they can see it all work, they see the new developments on the machines, so it is a good day out for people.'
READ MORE: Watch how Norfolk beet is turned into sugar at British Sugar's factory at CantleyMr Riley said, despite the uncertainty in the agricultural industry due to Brexit and reports of a lack of business confidence affecting investment decisions, he was confident about the prospects for his sector.
'In the sugar beet industry, 85pc of the crop is lifted by contractors who are investing massive amounts of money, but because they are lifting so many acres of sugar beet they want to reinvest because there comes a time when the machine needs to move on to the later products, and so consequently I am confident.
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'We can all be negative and pessimistic about the future but I think we have to remain positive. Sugar beet, I believe, will carry on being grown in this country so it has to be lifted.'