The first loads of beet grown for an anaerobic digester in Northern Ireland left the Republic last week.
Over 18,000 tonnes of beet has been grown in Kildare, Wicklow and Cork to supply renewable energy plants in the North this winter.
Over the coming weeks, 6,000t will be trucked to the 850kW digestion facility owned by Ballyrashane Dairy in Coleraine, Co Derry.
Another 12,000t will be loaded on three separate 4,000t boats in Cork for delivery to Derry in December.
The contracts have been secured by Micheal Cullinane's Ecobeet company which has contracted 900ac of beet this year.
Mr Cullinane said his requirement for Irish beet could increase threefold to 50,000t next year as more anaerobic digesters come on line. Ecobeet will be targeting sugar beet only next year due to its higher gas yield.
The firm will also be purchasing up to 20,000t in Britain where beet can be bought for €10/t less, according to Mr Cullinane.