Ron Tharp, Ag Manager for Spreckels Sugar, recaps the Imperial Valley's 2017 growing season.
By Ron Tharp
BRAWLEY, Calif. – Planting began the first week in September with above normal temperatures. There were more hand line sprinklers used again this year to get around the high temperatures this planting season. Some growers held off hoping the weather would cool down. By the middle of the month planting was in full swing. The early planted fields had some reduced stands and we had more replants due to the heat. The later planted fields were coming up with good stands. Planting was completed by the third week of October.
The herbicides worked very good and the crop was weed free. The crop made excellent progress into the winter months. Root samples taken the first of December looked good with above average yields and average quality. The crop progressed well with above average temperatures into the new year. Root samples taken in January continued to show a above average yield and average quality. The crop started to show some winter annual weeds poking through the canopy and some herbicide was applied to control them. February and March root samples showed a crop just above average in yield and average quality.
Harvest began on April 1st with good yields and good quality. Temperatures were average for April and May, yields and quality were average for the crop. Temperatures warmed in June to above average. Late June temperatures were 115º to 122º for a week and the crop was hit pretty hard. Yields continued to climb but the quality began to decline. July was above average for temperatures. The high temperatures contributed to more degradation of the sugarbeets making factory operations a challenge. Harvest was completed the first week in August.
Final yield was 45.07 tons per acre, 16.90% sugar content. The final numbers were good overall and the growers delivered a well harvested beet. Thanks for all their effort to deliver a good product to the factory. We are looking forward to a good crop again this year.