— Positive & Progressive —
Sugarbeet roots run deep and not only out in the field. Throughout most sugarbeet production regions, there are a number of families whose sugarbeet “roots” go back at least several decades, spanning three, four or even more generations.
So it is with the Lungrens of Wor- land, Wyo. Adam Lungren was born in Russia and came to the United States in the early 1900s at age 10. He lived and worked in Idaho, Kansas, Ne- braska and South Dakota before fi- nally planting his roots in north central Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. There he worked the beet fields, eventually establishing his own farm.
Adam’s son, Lloyd, has clear if not always fond memories of laboring in sugarbeet fields as a child, long before mechanization, long before monogerm seed or planting to stand. “My mom sewed patches on our pants knees, and we crawled down the rows and thinned the beets with a hoe,” he attests. He also recalls the sting in his shins from nicking himself with the point of the beet topping knife.
Robert (Bob) Wilson joined the staff of the University of Nebraska’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottbluff in 1975. He was a native of Auburn, in the southeastern tip of Nebraska, where his father was the longtime Nemaha County extension agent. Other than a couple sum- mers in St. Louis working for Monsanto while an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and four years at Washington State University while pursuing his Ph.D. in weed science, Wilson has, in fact, lived his entire life within the borders of the Cornhusker State.
That won’t change anytime soon. But what will change, as of March 2014, is his employment status. Wilson plans to retire then, wrapping up almost four decades as university weed science researcher and educator — a person whom producers of sugarbeets and other crops in western Nebraska and the surrounding region have come to rely upon for solid research and sound advice. Growers and sugar company personnel alike affirm he will be missed.
Jerry Darnell, Scottsbluff-based agriculture manager for Western Sugar Cooperative, has known Wilson for the past 22 years. “Bob has con- tributed many things to improve the sugarbeet industry in the Rocky Moun- tain region,” Darnell attests. “He helped establish planting beets to a stand instead of thinning them. He helped develop micro-rate and half- rate herbicide methods for weed control in sugarbeets (the half rate with extra crop oil working better in this region). Bob started working on Roundup Ready® sugarbeets in the early stages of development and helped push to get the new technology approved. He also started working on different ways to control glyphosate- resistant weeds before they were even an issue.” Among Wilson’s other impor- tant contributions, Darnell adds, has been his research proving “that good weed control in a farmer’s corn crop will pay big dividends in weed control the next year in their sugarbeet fields.
“Growers and chemical reps in the western Nebraska/southeastern Wyoming area have always benefited from Bob’s research and advice about weed control in all their crops,” Dar- nell continues. “He is always willing to go out and look at weed control issues and to offer advice or develop a study to help control the problem.”
The Nord farm is located near Wolverton, Minn. It was acquired during the early 1950s by Jeff’s dad, Richard, and three generations have lived and farmed there since.
This story begins at the Jeff and Diane Nord lake home, where it was discussed earlier in the summer that circum- stances might afford certain individuals the opportunity to help with this year’s sugarbeet harvest. Actually, the real story be- gins back in 1978, when a then 12-year-old “city kid” spent the first of three summers on a farm in North Dakota run by his uncle Marvin and cousin Ray Askegaard. The tales told from beet harvests past were always tall and sowed the seeds of desire to one day experience it for himself. That desire has gone unfulfilled for 35 years — until now!
About 450 People Attend This September Event
September 18 was quite the day in eastern Michigan, as about 450 very curious sugarbeet growers and other interested persons — some from other parts of the country — showed up for a harvesting demonstration just outside Sandusky. The event featured self-pro- pelled beet harvesters from four com- panies: Ropa, Holmer, Grimme and Vervaet. Also in attendance, though not displaying a harvester, was a fifth manufacturer, Agrifac.
Each harvester on site topped and lifted beets from either 20- or 22-inch rows, as onlookers observed and asked questions of company representatives.
Sugarbeets harvested by the self-propelled European-built units were then carted and piled on field edges. There, Ropa Maus and Holmer Terra- Fellis 2 cleaner-loaders were used to clean the beets and load them on to waiting semis. Demonstrations were repeated morning and afternoon.
The demonstration was organized by Steve Poindexter, senior extension sugarbeet educator for Michigan State University. The event was coordinated through Michigan Sugarbeet Advancement’s Research Extension Advisory Council (REACh) initiative.
Don Lilleboe is editor of 'The Sugarbeet Grower' and 'Gilmore Sugar Manual.'