Deputy Director


Kerstin Martens
Institute of Farm Economics

Bundesallee 63
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5102
Fax: +49 531 596 5199

Sugar beet in EU member states in competition


emerging sugar beets (c) aid infodienst/Peter Meyer
emerging sugar beets (© aid infodienst/Peter Meyer)

An approach to estimate the interregional competitiveness of sugar beets - using the example of selected European regions

How competitive are sugar beets after a liberalisation of the EU market compared to rapeseed and wheat in selected high yielding regions?

Background and Objective

A changing global competitive environment and a liberalisation of the EU common agricultural policy confront the EU sugar beet production with new challenges, but also with promising opportunities. A rising agricultural price level as well as the political support of bioenergy increase the opportunity costs of land and thus increase the economic pressure on the sugar beet production. Against this background we estimate the future development of the sugar beet production in Germany and Europe.


To estimate the competitiveness of sugar beets it is necessary to gather detailed data on its cultivation. Therefore, two sources of information are of special interested: First, we need crop specific data at individual farm level. Second, in expert group discussions we want to compile information on indirect factors that influence the beet cultivation as well. This approach is appropriate because the latter information is not available in the ordinary cost calculations. The indirect factors are important determinants for the competitiveness of the sugar beet.

Data and Methods

Based on the individual farm calculations and the findings from the expert discussions we calculate the on-farm competitiveness of sugar beets compared to their alternative crops such as rapeseed and wheat. In five selected regions we use data from workgroups, scientific institutes and educational institutions. In so called focus group discussions indirect effects such as yield effects on the following crop or work peaks, are discussed with farmers and advisors from the selected regions. Thus, we can draw a realistic picture of possible developments in beet cultivation in the analyzed regions.


For the regions of Cologne-Aachen Bay, East Westphalia, Lower Franconia, East England, Zeeland, individual equilibrium prices for sugar beet were calculated and extrapolated for the region based on the volume of cultivation. Based on average equilibrium prices in the sample farms examined, sugar beet cultivation is the most competitive in the Cologne-Aachen Bay and East Westphalia regions. Then follow the regions of Lower Franconia and Zeeland. The East England region is the least competitive region. First, the least competitive farms in East England, Lower Franconia and East Westphalia would reduce their beet cultivation. At alternative prices of € 180 per ton of wheat, this would be the case at a beet price of around 37 €/t. Beet cultivation within the regions would then probably be taken over by the more competitive farms. A reduction in the beet acreage can be expected from beet prices below 33 €/t. More detailed results can be found in Thünen Report No. 24.

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Involved Thünen-Partners


6.2009 - 12.2014

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished

Publications to the project

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  1. Albrecht R (2015) Ein Ansatz zur Abschätzung der interregionalen Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Zuckerrübenproduktion - am Beispiel ausgewählter europäischer Regionen. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 236 p, Göttingen, Univ, Diss, Thünen Rep 24, DOI:10.3220/REP_24_2015
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 6358 kb