Strube UK’s Sugar Beet experts: Meet the team
The Strube UK’s Sugar Beet team, headed up by Richard Powell, brings together nearly 130 years worth of experience with sugar beet and a wealth of knowledge which makes us your natural sugar beet partners. Find out a bit more about us…
Richard comes from a largely medical family, with both his father and brother having been doctors and his uncle a Reader in Neuro-anatomy at Oxford University. But Richard always wanted to go into agriculture. He studied Agricultural Science at the Royal Agricultural College, with a clear view to going into Farm Management and his first posting was as Assistant to the Farms Director on 6,000 acres in High Norfolk.
During his two years with the Weasenham Farms Company, one of the key projects that he worked on was to investigate the yield of the sugar beet on the company’s 7 farms in North Norfolk. The average yield of the 1,100 acres was 14 tonnes per acre (34.6 T/ha.), the national average, and the proposition was that the yield could be raised by 1 tonne per acre. The project involved every facet of sugar beet growing and employed many technologies including infra-red and panchromatic aerial photography, soil sampling and seed research. Richard was already “hooked” on sugar beet!
In 1983, Richard joined Miln Marsters, at the time, one of the UK’s most prestigious seed companies. His role, as Seed Production Fieldsman for the South and West of the country, would take him back to Gloucestershire for another 5 years, where he was responsible for seed crops of cereals, grasses, kales and rapes as well as sugar beet seed for Hilleshog.
Hilleshog in the UK was later to become a part, successionally, of Volvo, Sandoz, Novartis and then ultimately Syngenta. In 29½ years with Syngenta and the legacy companies, Richard worked on a range of arable crops, but with a clear focus on all aspects of the sugar beet crop – from seed production in the field through seed processing and seed physiology to marketing, sales and crop agronomy, including significant work with GM beet. Latterly, Richard was Sugar Beet Portfolio Manager for Syngenta in the UK, China and Japan.
Since September 2012, Richard, has been MD of Strube UK Ltd, responsible for all aspects of the running and development of Strube’s successful sugar beet seed business in the UK with leading varieties, Haydn, Degas and Gauguin.
Tony was born into a Suffolk farming family at Bury St Edmunds, the family then moved to a large arable & dairy farm in Norfolk during the war years.
On leaving school, Tony went to Chadacre Agricultural College in Suffolk, with the ultimate aim of going into farming. However, after 2 years as a farm student, Tony joined a machinery manufacturer in Ely and, after a stint with another machinery dealer at Ramsey, spent 4 years with a fertilizer company.
Tony joined British Sugar in 1975 at the Wissington Factory as an Area Manager with nearly 400 sugar beet growers to look after, ranging from 0.5 ha. – 300 ha. At that time, there was a very “hands-on” approach – advising on all aspects of the sugar beet crop including mechanisation.
After the King’s Lynn factory closed in 1994 and most of their sugar beet growers were transferred to Wissington, Tony had the opportunity to set up his own business as a consultant specialising in sugar beet. His business covered all aspects of growing the crop, including soil sampling, fertiliser recommendations, drilling, sugar beet seed advice, herbicides and harvesting. At one time, Tony held the rare and coveted licence as an inspector of sugar beet seed crops and he has worked for a number of seed companies over the years, always keeping his finger on the pulse.
Angela grew up on the family farm near Burton on Trent in Staffordshire and from the word go always wanted to work in agriculture.
After leaving Harper Adams College in 1997 with an HND in Agriculture, Angela joined Farm Supply (South) in Staffordshire. This company was bought out by Masstock, here she successfully gained her BASIS qualification and worked with a healthy portfolio of clients on farms across the Midlands.
Whilst at Harper Adams, Angela had met her future husband, Ed Lankfer, who farmed in West Norfolk. And so, after 3 years in the Midlands, she moved to Norfolk to make it her permanent home.
In 2000, Angela joined British Sugar as an Area Manager and stayed with them for 8 happy years. She then moved to Syngenta, also as an Area Manager. Working with crop agronomy and agronomists on farms, Syngenta enabled Angela to look at farming from not just a local, geographic perspective but also from a national and global platform.
In 2012, Angela’s life took a completely new direction on becoming a mum to her son, Charles. She left Syngenta at the end of the following year and now works with her husband on their mixed arable and stock farm in sight of the Wissington sugar factory in Norfolk.
Although that keeps her very busy, Angela also finds time to also act as a consultant for Strube UK Ltd. Life changes, as does farming, but Angela’s passion for the sugar beet crop remains!
Lewis was brought up with sugar beet. His father, Arthur, was Factory Agricultural Manager at British Sugar’s King’s Lynn Factory and he literally learned about sugar beet at his father’s knee, travelling round the farms of Norfolk and the Fens at every opportunity. Add to this that his uncles, Harold (Cupar & Wissington) and John (Felsted) were British Sugar Fieldsmen of great renowned there was a family tradition in the making.
However, first Lewis qualified in General Horticulture at the Isle of Ely College after which he joined Unwin’s Seeds at Histon as a Vegetable Trials Officer.
In 1968, Lewis joined Miln Marsters, the famous west Norfolk seed company based at King’s Lynn and Docking in their Seed Production Department – a department that he would go on to lead, latterly specialising in UK and French sugar beet seed production. In 1984, he was appointed Marketing Manager for Hilleshog sugar beet seed, the leading sugar beet of the day. Hilleshog, a Swedish company, had worked with Miln Marsters since 1926 and later went on to acquire the company.
Lewis worked to promote Hilleshog sugar beet varieties with the British Sugar Agriculture Teams and commercial growers through what were the glory days of that company and some may say some of the best years of UK sugar beet growing itself. It was a time when Hilleshog made the greatest strides in the understanding of seed maturity, plant establishment and the nature of seed priming as well as having the introduction of the first and most famous generations of diploid varieties.
Since stepping down from that full time role more than a decade ago, Lewis has continued a full involvement in the world of sugar beet as a consultant to firstly Syngenta sugar beet and latterly Strube Sugar Beet in the UK. Lewis also runs his own Landscape Gardening business and a thriving Bamboo Nursery near his home in Ingoldisthorpe.
All of team at Strube Sugar Beet UK are committed to helping our customers make the most of their Sugar Beet business. If you’d like to know more about Strube, then please do not hesitate to contact the Strube UK team. Alternatively you can contact us by calling Richard at our Fakenham office on (01328) 851572 or email him here.