Amalgamated Sugar Company
Much of the Amalgamated crop was planted by the middle of April. For the third spring in a row, we had a difficult time getting a stand established because of cold weather, wind and mouse problems. Replants were higher than normal, which also caused lower-than-desired stands in some fields.
The spring and summer were cool, which inhibited growth. Autumn brought mild temperatures, which aided in the harvest.
The weed control was excellent. Leafminer problems persisted later than normal, and treatment was needed in some areas. The sugarbeet root maggot showed less pressure and peaked later because of cold weather. Generally, cyst nematode, curly top and rhizomania were well controlled with resistant varieties, pesticides and cultural practices.
Generally, the 2010 crop was received in excellent condition because of the proper soil moisture and temperature conditions. Harvest began on September 14 in the Twin Falls area, September 21 in the Mini-Cassia area and September 29 in the western part of the cooperative. Beet yields were below average, but the tare lab sugar was above average at 17.33%. — Stacey Camp
American Crystal Sugar Co.
The 2010 cropping season got off to the earliest start in many, many years. Planting was 96% complete by the end of April. April temperatures were much above normal, enabling the crop to germinate and emerge much faster than average. Plant populations were the highest since the cooperative was formed. Some fields had row closure before June 15.
The Drayton factory district experienced well-above-normal rainfall in May, June and early July, causing drownout and significant crop damage — especially in far northwestern Minnesota. Overall replanted acres were under 1% for the year.
Growing degree days for May through August were normal or slightly above normal in 2010. September was very cool, with near-record low average temperatures for the month slowing growth and lowering sugar content.
Pest problems causing greatest crop loss were root diseases, especially rhizoctonia. Aphanomyces severity was high in northwestern Minnesota. About 4,000 acres had very high incidence and severity of root rot and were abandoned as unfit for long-term storage. Root rots limited yield potential in numerous Red River Valley locales.
Cercospora leafspot reached economic loss levels in fields in the southern part of the Moorhead factory district. Weather conditions were the most favorable for Cercospora development in the last 12 to 15 years. Control was very good in most fields, as shareholders applied more fungicide than in the past several years.
Weed control was good to excellent in almost all fields. Root maggot problems were about average. Springtails continue to be observed in more fields each year, causing stand reduction and yield loss.
Prepile started August 17 in anticipation of record yields. This was the earliest startup ever. Sugar content was very good for mid-August, and yields were already excellent. The full stockpile harvest began on October 1 and was completed by October 23. Very warm weather was experienced during the first two weeks of harvest, with heat shutdowns being the order of the day. Shareholders were grateful for a dry harvest with almost no rainfall received until harvest was completed. Tare declined to average levels compared to record tare percentages in 2008 and 2009.
The final average yield was the highest in American Crystal history at 26.3 tons per acre. Sugar loss to molasses was at a record low, with sugar content averaging just over 18%. — Allan Cattanach
This article contains our 24th annual sugarbeet crop summary.
All current North American beet regions are represented by the reports included here.
The Sugarbeet Grower extends our sincere thanks to those individuals listed
who submitted the report for their company.
A total of 30,000 acres were contracted with Alberta growers for the 2010 season. The first beets were planted on April 7; but frequent rain and snow showers slowed planting during the rest of April, and only 55% of the crop had been planted by May 1. Normally, more than 70% of the crop is seeded by that time.
Significant natural precipitation during May hampered seeding operations and the first herbicide applications, and a number of fields were not planted until the end of the month. In many cases, sections of fields lay in water for up to several days as growers battled the elements. Pumping of water off fields was a common sight throughout the growing area.
Several acres ended up being not planted or abandoned due to the excessively wet conditions. Overall, plant stands were rated anywhere from poor to excellent within fields and between districts. In addition, many fields had to be top-dressed with nitrogen due to significant leaching and volatilization issues.
Weed control was rated as satisfactory despite the early season difficulties. Control of insects focused mainly on flea beetles, wireworms and cutworms.
The remainder of the Alberta growing season was impacted by unseasonably cool temperatures and the lasting impact of excessively wet field conditions. Several fields did not receive an irrigation application until well into August! Crop development was below average, and a below-average yield was anticipated.
The 2010 harvest began on September 9, with factory processing commencing on the 22nd. Good growing conditions during the month of September raised hopes that yields would move closer to the average. Harvesting of the crop ran very smoothly, as receiving station operating hours were impacted by the harvesting of other crops in the area. Maturity of other cops in the rotation was delayed due to the below-par growing season. The final beets were delivered on November 4.
A total of 573,640 metric tonnes (632,151 short tons) of sugarbeets were harvested in Alberta in 2010, for an average yield of 19 metric tons (21 short tons) per acre. Average sugar content as measured by the tare lab was 18.6%. — Andrew Llewelyn-Jones
Michigan Sugar Company
The 2010 season in Michigan began on March 18, and approximately 24% of the crop was sown before the end of March. Starting to plant in mid-March is not that unusual; but having nearly 40,000 acres in the ground in March is very early for us.
The early start was followed by some very good conditions that allowed us to essentially have our entire crop planted by the middle of April. Emergence was good, and there was only a 2.1% replant for the year.
We did have some isolated heavy rains that had a negative impact on a few acres; but for the most part, the early growing season was excellent. The crop was progressing throughout the summer, and it appeared to be a record-setting crop! In August, we experienced some drier-than-expected weather conditions, and the tonnage did slip just a little.
The decision to start beet receiving early (August 23) was made in anticipation of a large crop — and before the four- to five-week dry spell in August and early September. This early start in Bay City was a good three weeks earlier than any previous year in our history. September rains eventually replenished some of the moisture, but we fell just short of a record harvest for total tons delivered.
In terms of total tonnnage, 2010 produced our second largest crop in history. Our average yield of 26.07 tons per acre was also second to the 28.89-ton crop harvested just two years ago.
The grower sugar of 18.17% was right at our three-year average for the cooperative. If we use just the beets harvested for long-term storage from October 19 through the completion of harvest, our average sugar was a very respectable 18.67%. Clear juice purity (CJP) was a bit lower than the previous two years but still good at 94.76.
We have had a good storage season to date; and with the additional ventilation installed last year, we should be slicing ventilated beets by late January. Our expected finish date is some time the last week of February.
We had hoped to set new receiving and slice records, but now it appears that this will be our second best season in history. This gives us the challenge of setting new records for 2011. The beautiful fall weather last October allowed all growers to have excellent fall tillage, so we are in position to start the 2011 crop as soon as soil conditions allow. — Paul Pfenninger
Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative
Minn-Dak growers began planting the 2010 crop in early April due to very favorable conditions, and 90% of the crop was planted by the end of the month. Planting was completed in late May with a total of 115,800 acres planted. Biotech sugarbeets were planted for the third year, ending up on 99.9% of the acreage. Weed control was very good all season long.
Growing conditions during the months of May, June, July and August were favorable for crop production. Rhizoctonia root rot affected more acres again this growing season and has become a significant concern. Crop samples in July indicated a very good crop in the making. This led to moving up the preharvest start date to August 17, the earliest on record. August samples confirmed an excellent crop was on the way.
Main harvest began September 30 and was rain-free (though interrupted regularly for heat shutdowns). The harvest was completed on October 21. The 114,500 harvested acres yielded 3,108,000 tons of sugarbeets, for an average of 27.15 tons. Sugar content averaged 16.8%. — Tom Knudsen
Sidney Sugars, Inc.
Crop year 2010 had a good start. We contracted 31,497 acres (and harvested 31,052). Only 203 acres were replanted. The Pleasant View district received some hard rains when the beets were small, causing a yield reduction at harvest time. Planting started in mid-April and finished by the middle of May. Plant populations were good, and timely rains helped the crop to develop.
Summer temperatures were warm until September, which was cool and wet. The crop showed very good growth. The entire acreage was planted to Roundup Ready® beets. Fields were clean and free of weeds.
A devastating hail storm hit the Fairview area in July, and more than 6,000 acres were damaged. Some fields lost more than four tons an acre because of the storm. We had many other areas that were lightly damaged by hail during the summer.
Cercospora leafspot was identified during the summer, and many fields were treated a couple times to control this disease.
Harvest began on September 28 in three stations. The rest of the stations began during the first week of October. There were many delays because of warm temperatures. Growers harvested at night and whenever conditions allowed. We took the last beets harvested on October 24. There was only one harvest delay because of rain. The beets went into the piles very clean and weed free. The entire acreage was harvested. The final average yield was 27.2 tons per acre, and the final sugar was 17.72%. — Russ Fullmer
Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative
The spring of 2010 started off with excellent weather, allowing Southern Minn growers to get an early start on planting. As a result, more than 85% of the crop was planted prior to May 1. Plant stands generally were good, but a few fields were replanted due to wind damage.
Weather during much of the growing season was relatively wet throughout much of the growing area. This resulted in rhizoctonia root rot being more prevalent than in the past. Overall, the crop continued to grow at a rapid pace throughout the summer, requiring us to start our prepile harvest earlier than ever before.
Prepile harvest at SMBSC began on August 23. Prepile lasted the month of September, during which time parts of the growing area received up to three times their normal rainfall. This created a struggle to keep the factory continually supplied with beets. Despite the difficulties, the growers responded and found ways to keep us supplied with beets. Fortunately, the month of October provided very favorable weather for harvest with only a few delays due to heat.
SMBSC growers ended the 2010 crop year by delivering 3,094,801 tons from 114,893 harvested acres, resulting in an average yield of 26.94 tons per acre. This is the second largest crop we have grown at Southern Minn, surpassed only by the 2009 crop. The sugar content ended the season at 16.23%. It was a great crop overall — and one that went into storage in very good condition. — Todd Geselius
Spreckels Sugar Company, Inc.
Planting of the 2009/10 Imperial Valley crop began the first week of September, with a first irrigation date of September 5. Temperatures ranged between 108-111°F. for the month of September. Planting got into full swing by the middle of the month, and the beets emerged to good stands. We had one variety that we had some skippy stands, but for the most part the stands were good enough to keep.
With the high temperatures, the insect and weed pressure was high as well. But the growers were able to clean up the crop and keep the insects under control. Birds caused stand reductions in some fields in both the southern and the northern districts.
October brought somewhat cooler temperatures (90-100°), a lessening of the insect pressure, and the bird problem moved to other crops. Stands continued to be good as the later-planted beets came up. Herbicides were applied and the beet fields were very clean. Fields with wild beet infestations had crews cleaning them up.
November brought seasonal temperatures (ranging from 80 to 94°), and the crop made good progress. Crews continued to clean up fields with wild beet problems. The early beets began closing rows by mid-month, and the crop had a nice healthy appearance. We did see a few fields with evidence of rhizomania spots before the temperatures began cooling down.
December again brought seasonal temperatures, and the crop progressed nicely. Initial root samples were taken the first of the month and indicated slightly below average yield and quality. We received over 0.3 inch of rain, which helped the crop and cleaned up things from all the dust on the leaves.
January brought some rains to the valley that really helped the crop. Rain amounts for the month came to 1.98 inches — well above the area norm. Temperatures ranged from 64 to 76°, just a little above average. The January root samples responded to the warm weather and were above average in yield and average on quality.
February was a little warmer than normal. We did not get any temperatures that dropped to the freezing mark. Root samples for the month showed a little above average on yield, while quality was average.
The harvest start date was set at April 1, 2010, and growers began setting their irrigation schedules accordingly. We received over 0.5 inch of rain during March. That month also saw the early fields begin yellowing up for the start of harvest. Temperatures were normal (with a range of 74-88°). Root samples for the month showed average yield and quality.
Harvest began, and the yields were a little better than we had expected. Temperatures ranged between 87-95° and the crop was coming into the station clean and well topped. Yields for the month averaged 30.27 tons per acre, with sugar content 17.90% and purity of 88.75%.
May saw temperatures a little cooler than normal with a range of 95-99°. The crop was still looking very good, coming in clean and well topped. Yields to date had begun to throw the growers off their irrigation schedules, and we were beginning to see a few more clods come into the station. Yields for the month of May brought the to-date average up to 35.99 tons, sugar content to 17.84% and purity to 89.13%. The estimate for the 2010 crop was raised by one ton, to 42 tons.
June again saw slightly below average temperatures, with a range of 105-107°. The crop was making very good progress, and the factory operations to this point were excellent. Yields for the month of June brought the to-date average up to 39.66 tons, sugar content to 17.71% and purity to 89.23%.
July temperatures were up around 110-112°. The estimate for the overall crop was again raised by one ton, to 43 tons. The crop was continuing to grow despite the high temperatures. Yields for the month of July brought the to-date average to 42.67 tons, sugar content to 17.44% and purity to 88.98%.
August was a “short” month as harvest was completed on the 10th. Yields finished at 43.91 tons per acre, sugar content at 17.26% and purity at 88.71%. August temperatures hit the last of the crop hard, and we had to leave 96 acres of beets in the ground because of quality issues.
We harvested 25,166 acres of beets for the year. All in all, we had a very successful sugarbeet harvest in the Imperial Valley this year. Thanks to all the growers and factory operations for a great year. — Ron Tharp
Western Sugar Cooperative
The 2010 crop year started off cool across all regions, with the sugarbeets looking for more heat units. All regions had a hard freeze the first week of May, requiring 35% of the acres in Nebraska, 16% in Colorado, and 13% in Montana to be replanted. Those beet fields that did not need to be replanted had reduced plant populations from the freeze.
Water supplies for irrigation were above average as several reservoirs had to release water because they were in the flood stage.
The season had few disease issues in all growing areas. Growers with sugarbeet cyst nematodes continue to improve their yields by planting nematode-tolerant varieties.
Early harvest began September 7 in the northern region (Billings and Lovell) and September 21 in the southern region (Scottsbluff, Torrington and Fort Morgan). Conditions were warm and dry in all areas. The high daytime temperatures caused a delay in regular harvest in all regions. The high temperatures required harvesting during the early morning hours for over a week and not piling during the day or the early evenings. Temperatures cooled later in the month, and 95% of the crop was harvested by October 31.
Yields in the northern region averaged 29.4 tons per acre, with 16.96% sugar. The southern region averaged 25.74 tons with 17.57% sugar.
Sugarbeet processing is scheduled to be complete in early February. — Jerry Darnell
Wyoming Sugar Company
High sugar prices and stronger demand for sugarbeet acres put us right where we needed to be for our 2010 acreage. We found ourselves in a new situation: turning acres away rather than looking for more.
For the second year in a row, we experienced a much cooler-than-normal summer with above-normal precipitation. The spring was particularly cool and wet. Even so, most of our beets were planted during the period of April 9-25. We had splendid beet growing weather, and we experienced very few disease or pest problems. We did receive a couple hail storms that affected fewer than 500 acres, but the setback to the beets was minimal.
Harvest began on September 20. We had to regulate receiving hours during the first 10 days because of some warm temperatures. However, once we got into October the temperature cooled off, and other than one storm the weather stayed cool and dry. After the past few harvests with their mud, rain and freezing temperatures, we really enjoyed harvest this year.
The beet piles have stored quite well, and processing has been going smoothly. Wyoming Sugar finished up the year with averages of 17.91% sugar and 28.59 net tons per acre. — Myron Casdorph
Don Lilleboe is editor of 'The Sugarbeet Grower' and 'Gilmore Sugar Manual.'