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20⋅20⋅20 Target

Our aim is to increase sugar yields while at the same time reducing the environmental impact of beet growing. To support this ambition, we launched our 20⋅20⋅20 efficiency initiative in 2011. It sets out a clear vision for the future: by 2020, 20 per cent of our top-performing farmers should have a 20-tonne sugar yield per hectare. This is an ambitious target, but we are confident that it can be achieved.

The initiative is rooted in our belief that increased productivity and sustainability are not mutually exclusive – in fact they go hand in hand. Achieving our productivity target is possible only through sustainable farming techniques that use natural resources as efficiently as possible.

Focus areas

The 20⋅20⋅20 initiative focuses on five areas: plant breeding, cultivation methods, harvest, storage and cultivation structure. Working with our farmers and network partners, we are developing ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the entire process chain, from preparing the soil for sowing all the way to harvest and delivery of the sugar beets.


Combined drilling

One new approach to yield optimization is combined drilling – simultaneously sowing the beet seed and incorporating fertilizer into the soil. As well as saving on fertilizer, time, fuel and carbon dioxide, this method ensures that the beet gets the nutrients it needs, and even promotes crop development. We are working to expand the use of combined drilling, particularly on sandy soils where it is most effective.



Sharing expert knowledge

In order to realize the goal of 20⋅20⋅20, we need to make sure that the expertise of our best-performing farmers can be shared with others. To encourage knowledge-sharing, we have established regional competence teams across seven countries, consisting of Nordzucker cultivation advisers and interested farmers.

The teams work together to develop practical solutions in a hands-on way, with meetings often taking place in the beet fields. In this way, valuable knowledge about cultivation techniques can be passed on to improve the yields of all Nordzucker farmers.



The 20⋅20⋅20 initiative is delivering steady results. In 2016/17, the top 20 per cent of farms achieved an average sugar yield of 16,7 tonnes per hectare – the top 20 per cent only achieved 14,2 tonnes per hectare in 2011 when the initiative was launched. The yield increase has been achieved by improving growing techniques rather than by using more nutrients, fuel and pesticides. This means that the environmental impact per kg of sugar has been decreased as yields go up.

“High yields aren’t just compatible with sustainability – they depend on it. To achieve high yields, you need a balanced, sustainable farming system, where all parts of the production work together and support each other.”

Torsten Thuresson, partner farmer, Sweden