(Bloomberg) -- Europe’s flooded fields are delaying sugar harvesting and threatening to wipe out 15% of beet crops still to be collected in France, one of the region’s biggest growers of the sweetener.

Factories in Europe typically start processing beets for several months starting in September, but the harvest has been hampered by heavy rains across northwest Europe. France recently received 32 straight days of rainfall, the longest stretch since 1998, according to Meteo France.

Almost half of the country’s beets are still in the ground because of the delays and some plants have curbed production because they’re not receiving enough to process, growers’ group CGB said at a conference in London. Some French farmers are worried they’ll lose 15% of unharvested beets due to flooding, it said. Other European sugar growers at the conference also voiced output concerns. 

The setback risks curbing production in Europe, further tightening the global market. Sugar futures are trading near the highest in more than a decade in New York following consecutive years of deficits and threats to supplies in key growers from India to Thailand.

Read More: Muddy Fields Sideline Farmers as Storms Drench North Europe

Other comments from the conference on European conditions:

  • Dutch farmers still have about 50% of beets in fields, meaning it’s unlikely that the harvest will be wrapped up by Dec. 1, according to Arwis Bos, a representative of cooperative Royal Cosun. He said conditions are the wettest in a century — halting harvesting — and any cold snap would further threaten beets.
  • Harvest delays will probably prolong Germany’s beet campaign until February, increasing the risk of crop losses to frost, said Ulf Wegener, who spoke on behalf of the nation’s growers.
  • In the UK, storms and flooding in some areas are making fieldwork harder, the National Farmers Union said.

--With assistance from Megan Durisin.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.