Astarta has finished the 2020 agricultural production season by harvesting sugar beets (almost 1.5 million tons).
Considering the negative weather impact on plants throughout the entire year, namely the prolonged drought in the eastern and central regions of Ukraine and spring frosts in the West, yields are predictably lower than last year. Thus, the average gross yield of sugar beet amounted to 429 hundredweights/ha. However, the sugar content of beets remained at a high level and averaged more than 17% at Astarta (compared to 16.3% Ukrainian average according to Ukrsugar data as of December 11).
As the level of moisture in soil remains unsatisfactory in the Eastern regions of operations, the company envisages amending cultivation technologies next year. In particular, these include lowering the seeding rate to give a larger area to plants for nutrition and additional inter-row application of liquid fertilizers. There are also plans to increase irrigation provided that the state enables an access to reclamation systems.
Valeriy Sokolenko, Astarta Executive Director, comments: “Despite all the negative factors during this season, Astarta remains the leader in the sugar industry. The company’s sugar plants produced 226 thousand tons of sugar. Thus, we are going to retain around 22% share of the sugar market in Ukraine”.
Astarta increased the share of A grade sugar in total output to 99% (versus 95.5% in 2019). About 70 thousand tons of extra-class sugar were produced. Another year for Astarta’s factories to have demonstrated the highest sugar yield per ton of the raw material processed. Namely, Yaresky Sugar Refinery has the highest rate in Ukraine producing almost 168 kg of sugar from a ton of sugar beets, while the average rate in Ukraine is 136 kg/ton. These results were achieved due to focus on operational efficiency and skills upgrading, which the company would continue to apply next year.
Based on European logistics scheme “field-plant”, it was also possible to reduce the losses of sugar beets during their unloading and storage at the pick-up section. Such an approach, in combination with Astarta’s operational improvement system (OIS), has allowed increasing the share of A grade sugar in total production. (Ukrsugar/Business World Magazine)