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20⋅20⋅20 Target

In 2011 we set ourselves an ambitious target to be reached by 2020. Our aim was to increase sugar yields per hectare, while at the same time reducing our environmental impact of beet growing. This ambition was focused in our 20-20-20 initiative, in which 20 percent of our top-performing grower would grow a 20 tonnes sugar yield per hectare by 2020.

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 improved 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, and  storage. Working with our growers and research 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 growers isshared with others. To encourage knowledge sharing, we have established regional competence teams across seven countries, consisting of Nordzucker beet consultants and interested growers.

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 ispassed on to improve the yields of all Nordzucker growers.



The 20⋅20⋅20 initiative has delivered positive results, since it was launched.  In 2017/18, the top 20 per cent of farms achieved an average sugar yield of 15,9 tonnes per hectare – in comparison in 2011 the top 20 per cent achieved 14,2 tonnes.. 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, grower, Sweden