American Crystal Experimenting With Air Bubbles to Protect Beets from Vagaries of Weather — “Two 40-foot high, air-supported polyester tubes have been set up just east of the sugarbeet piles at American Crystal Sugar’s [Moorhead, Minn.] processing plant to see if beets can be protected from wind, rain and changes in temperature by the covering.
“ ‘It’s an experiment to see if such coverings are economically feasible, whether they’ll do the job,’ said Stewart Bass, vice president of Crystal’s agriculture division.
“Bass says the experimental project involves three beet piles of about 7,000 tons each at the Moorhead plant. The first pile has a double-insulated, white tent made from woven polyester. A second pile looks the same from out- side, but has only one layer. A third pile is an open-air check pile, or control to the experiment.
“Computer-controlled electronic thermometers within the structures will help determine how well each tent does its
work. The hope, said Bass, is that the new tents will prevent loss of sugarbeets from the great piles that must stay frozen, sometimes until March and April. ‘The beets are OK until they start thawing. The beets inside will remain frozen, but we get deterioration on the outside beets,’ Bass said, ‘especially when there’s rain.’ ”