By Larry Campbell & Allan Cattanach
Editor’s Note: The American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists (ASSBT) held its 37th biennial meeting in Anaheim, Calif., from February 27 to March 2. During that meeting, ASSBT paused to celebrate its 75th anniversary as an organization.
To help recognize this milestone, two longtime ASSBT members — Larry Campbell and Allan Cattanach — compiled a history of the American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists. Campbell is sugarbeet research geneticist with USDA-ARS at Fargo, N.D. Cattanach, who is American Crystal Sugar Company’s general agronomist, wrapped up a two-year term as ASSBT president at the Anaheim meeting.
A modestly edited version of that history is provided here.
Keen Interest in Technology, Strong Business Sense &
Passion for Ag Drive Snake River Sugar’s Chairman
Longtime Sugar Industry Leader — And Founder of
The Sugarbeet Grower — Passed Away in August
By Don Lilleboe
Being a sugar company agriculturist entails wearing a lot of hats. One of the most important is that of crop advisor, fielding growers’ questions and providing management recommendations on everything from choosing seed varieties to harvest timing and procedures.
Satisfactory Crop Residue Management Is a Key for the Carlquists of Southern Idaho
By Don Lilleboe
Doug and Melanie Carlquist were among a sizable contingent of Idaho sugarbeet producers who attended a strip-till seminar and field demonstration hosted by Amalgamated Sugar Company back in the summer of 2008. And, like a number of those attending, they were impressed enough with the perceived benefits of the production system that they purchased a new strip-till unit for deployment in their upcoming row crop fields.
By Mark Bredehoeft*
Application of an in-furrow 10-34-0 starter fertilizer at planting is generally considered to be a paying proposition in the Red River Valley and southern Minnesota sugarbeet areas. Often-cited benefits include increased early season vigor, improved crop stress tolerance, a typical boost in final recoverable sugar per acre, and optimal use of applied phosphorus inputs.
Cover Crop & Strip Till Among Key Elements in Producing 47-Ton Beets Following Potatoes on Sandy Soils
Jason Meyers is old enough to have gone through some tough years, young enough to still be hungry for new challenges — and good enough to rank among the top growers of Amalgamated Sugar Company. And he does it all by operating in two locales far enough apart that he travels between them by airplane.
Rhizoctonia root rot is a serious disease problem in several sugarbeet-growing regions, with the result sometimes being dramatic — and expensive — reductions in tonnage and quality. Low levels of infection can easily cause yield losses in excess of a ton per acre, while high infection levels can cut yields by more than 10 tons per acre. The quality of surviving beets can also be impacted, sometimes resulting in significant losses in recoverable sugar.
Transition Rapid & Successful - Michigan Grower Chris Guza Embraces Strip-Till System & Switch to Narrow Rows - By Don Lilleboe
Though 2011 will be just his third year producing sugarbeets under a strip-till system, Chris Guza has already implemented some big changes.
First, he has replaced his original strip-till unit — a converted row-crop cultivator — with a new SoilWarrior machine manufactured by Environmental Tillage Systems (ETS). And second, he has now transitioned from 30-inch rows into 22s.
Guza, who farms in Michigan’s Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties, moved into strip till in 2008 because of the opportunities he saw for reduced field passes in preparing his seedbed. He was already planting his beets into a stale seedbed and liked it. “But we didn’t like how much effort it took to get the ground fit to stale seedbed,” he recounts. Most of Guza’s sugarbeets follow corn. “So we’d harvest the corn, shred the stalks, variable-rate apply our P and K (in separate passes), disk rip and then field cultivate.”
Mari Brothers of N.E. Colorado Enthused With Strip-Till System, But Always Seeking Improvement
Mari Brothers Photo by Don Lilleboe
Left: Bob Mari (at left) and his brother Rod have grown sugarbeets for Western Sugar Cooperative since 2000, prior to its becoming a co-op. Their father, Clarence (right), a second-generation grower for the old Great Western Sugar Company, stopped raising beets in 1972, so there was a nearly 30-year gap for the crop on the Mari farm near Merino, Colo.
Bob Mari will never be a poster boy for the “This Is the Way We’ve Always Done It” club. First, he’s a sugarbeet grower. Second, he’s a young beet grower. And third, he and brother Rod are relatively new beet growers, so they’re not bound by long-term habits or tradition. They are, instead, motivated simply by the desire and need to make their operation as efficient — and profitable — as possible. And employing a strip-till production system is a primary vehicle for the Mari brothers. The northeastern Colorado growers have planted their center-pivot sugarbeet acres under strip till since the 2005 crop year.
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower