By Shelby Drye | Ag Manager for Spreckels Sugar
Planting began the first week of September, however, most growers waited to plant due to extremely high temperatures. The first fields planted used hand line sprinklers to help with germination during the high temperatures. Planting went into full effect the second week of September, and shortly after, Hurricane Sergio impacted the north end of the Imperial Valley, bringing heavy rains up to one inch of precipitation causing 1,800 acres of replanting. Planting and replanting were completed during the first week of November. The cool temperatures helped with the progress of beets. There was also excellent weed control, and light pressure from insects. The first root sample taken the first week of December showed an actively growing crop with above-average yield and quality. Samples were taken later in January, February, and March showing an above-average crop. Harvest started on April 1, 2019, with yields and quality above average.
By Todd Geselius | Vice President of Agriculture for SMBSC
It was another challenging year for Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative. With another cold and wet spring, planting was delayed. The majority of beets were planted within three windows of opportunity. Approximately one third of the acres were planted at the end of April and during the first week in May, another third were planted in the middle of May, and the last third planted at the end of May and beginning of June.The month of June remained wet across most the growing area and Cercospora leafspot (CLS) fungicide applications began around the fourth of July. Growers worked extremely hard at maintaining control of the disease throughout the growing season and were largely successful in keeping fields green. A short respite from the persistent rain in early August helped dry things out, which slowed down the disease progress for a little while. By the time harvest began, most of the fields were still green.
By Duane Peters | Agricultural Manager for Sidney Sugars
The 2019 spring had excessive flooding in the Sidney Sugars growing region; flooding that has never been seen before. This caused some fields to be abandoned from planting. Once the beets were planted, moisture became a common occurrence. When growers were ready to spray herbicides, rain slowed the process. When it was time to apply fungicide, rain slowed the process. We did notice higher root diseases due to weather conditions. September brought the wettest month in history, anywhere from 9-13” rainfall. This delayed the pre-pile start of our campaign. We were not able to start harvest in earnest until October 7. From there, harvesting could only be done in between the frost periods of weather. Harvest completed on November 5, with 32 tons per acre and 17 percent sugar. Tare was the highest we had seen in over 20 years at 5.63 percent.
By Rebecca Tokariuk | Lantic Inc Agriculturist
As with many other growing regions, Canadian sugarbeet farmers struggled through a series of setbacks in the 2019 season. Seeding in started early this year, with seed going into the ground on April 8th for our 28,000 contracted acres. We were struck with a series of frost events between April 27-30th. Fortunately, less than 500 acres were reseeded. Irrigation was not available until the first week of May for some regions, delaying the completion of seeding until the middle of the month. The season was very cool well into June. Row closure was evident in most fields in early July. Later in the summer, we experienced more characteristic weather, warm sunny days with minimal precipitation. We did not receive the smoke coverage in July-August as we did in 2017 and 2018. Cumulative rainfall was again below average, and producers struggled to keep up with water demands. A significant hailstorm rolled through the area on August 6th, throwing golf-ball sized hail and bringing strong wind gusts up to 146kph (90mph), according to Environment Canada. Most of our growers in the Taber and Picture Butte areas were significantly affected, with anywhere from 50-100% defoliation.
By Mike Metzger | Vice President of Agriculture & Research
Sugarbeet seed issue for the 2019 crop took place April 1st through the 5th. The planting level for the 2019 crop was set at a range of 1.40 to 1.42 acres per share of stock (101,080 to 102,524 acres). Planting of the crop started Thursday, April 25th. Approximately 40 percent of the crop was planted within the first 10 days of May, and 89 percent planted by May 16th. Due to saturated soil conditions in the southern-most growing district, it took three more weeks to plant the remaining 11 percent of the crop. Total planted acres were GIS-verified to be 101,590 acres or 1.41 acres per share. Timely rainfall and warmer temperatures promoted the germination and emergence of the young crop, resulting in very favorable stand establishment. Replanted acres for 2019 was primarily due to crusting and, to a lesser extent, frost. A total of approximately 1,000 acres were replanted for the 2019 crop, 500 acres below the 10-year average.
By Jim Ruhlman | Executive Vice President for Michigan Sugar Company
Roughly 154,000 acres were harvested, yielding just over 44 million tons. Permanent piling began on October 23, under ideal storage conditions. The majority of the crop went into the pile clean and at a near perfect temperature. An early freeze in November made the last 400,000 tons a bit challenging to harvest, but all beets delivered are expected to be processed. Shareholders in Michigan took exceptional care of the crop. Many beets were planted late due to a cold, wet spring and faced an extreme drought period in July and August. Rains finally came in September and October and the crop responded nicely with a company average sugar of 18.1% and a yield of 28.7 tons per acre. Leafspot was held in check. Growers planted seed with better disease packages and remained diligent throughout the growing season with fungicide applications.
Our factories are running well from a throughout standpoint and an extraction standpoint. Slice will continue through the end of March.
By Joe Hastings | General Agronomist for American Crystal Sugar Company
In the Red River Valley (RRV), the spring of 2019 started off with cooler than normal temperatures with higher soil moisture levels as a result of a wet fall in 2018. This resulted in delayed planting of the 2019 sugarbeet crop. Seeing planting was behind schedule, additional acreage was authorized to be planted via the spring TAP program in an amount of about 10,000 acres. May remained cool but dry, allowing planting to finally occur, resulting in an average planting date of May 10th, four days behind our 10-year average. Overall stand establishment was average and acceptable, however, there were areas that experienced dry seedbeds, crusting and wind events that reduced stand. This was mainly experienced in the East Grand Forks and Hillsboro districts.
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower