EU farmers are increasing production of sugar beet this year, when they will be freed at last to grow as much as they want and export it globally, after a decade of strict quotas and export limits.
Several EU member states, including top EU producer France, have started drilling for crops.
The return to global trade means European producers will compete for business with emerging beet sugar export countries like Russia and Ukraine, as well as refiners who import cane to make white sugar, such as the United Arab Emirates.
But it also means farmers now face the risk they have not seen for years: exposure to prices that can go down as well as up.
The sector was thoroughly restructured, after a 2005 ruling by the World Trade Organization that the EU unfairly subsidized its sugar producers.This caused to a sharp cutback of exports.
The EU went from exporting nearly a third of its sugar crop to becoming a net importer, under a regime now set to be dismantled in October.