NDSU-UM Beet Program a Million Dollar Connection
— “Take dedicated researchers and extension workers, adding willing cooperators, blend in sugar factory interest, stir well with liberal amounts of funding to conduct needed research, and you have a prize-winning recipe. From modest beginnings — 1961 grower contributions to research were $4,000 — support for sugarbeet research has continued to increase in line with an increasing technology. Beet grower funding broke the $100,000 mark in 1975. The 1980 budget was $200,000, making total contributions about $1.2 million.
“Much of the credit for the outstanding sugarbeet programs in extension and research in the Red River Valley and Renville, Minnesota, areas goes to the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board of Minnesota and North Dakota.
“This 15-member board is charged with the responsibility of developing the most effective research and education program possible for the Red River Valley sugarbeet industry. The board has seven grower members, two scientists each from North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, two [sugar] cooperative management representatives and one USDA member.
“This board meets several times each year to review present research and extension efforts and to consider new programs. All board activities are funded by checkoffs from sugarbeet growers. These check-offs will be a maximum of 3 cents per ton of beets produced this year. . . .”
Snow on Halloween: No Treat for Sugarbeet Growers (Gibbs & Soell Public Relations) — “When growers were forced to curtail fall land preparation due to last year’s Halloween snow, little did they know that mere inconvenience was only the beginning of the problems. The drought which followed this spring and summer was the worst on record for the Red River Valley area, according to Dr. Alan Dexter, extension weed control specialist for North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota.
“ ‘Although beets were having a hard time breading the surface this year, weeds were right there anyway,’ Dr. Dexter states. Because sugarbeets are planted in the top one to one and a half inches of soil, and weeds germinate from two to three inches below the surface, weed seeds have the competitive edge due to slightly more moisture.
“ ‘Many herbicides did not work well — or at all — because most of them, especially pre-emergence herbicides, must have adequate rainfall in order to be activated. This is why the drought meant little or no weed control,’ Dr. Dexter explains. ‘Those growers who used preplant incorporated herbicides such as Eptam found greater weed control because it performs without total reliance on rainfall.’
“ ‘Fall application of Eptam proved to be more effective than spring application’ Dr. Dexter adds. ‘This was because the ground was not exposed to drying in the spring when moisture was at a premium.’ ”
Studies Reveal Sugar Waste (from The Sugar Association) — “Sugar consumption figures for the U.S. have long been a matter of confusion. The question of ‘How much sugar do we eat?’ has attracted so many different responses that the subject demands further attention.
“To begin with, there are no actual sugar consumption figures available. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides disappearance figures that reflect total deliveries, as opposed to actual use. They do not account for spillage, spoilage, fermentation and waste.
“The USDA disappearance figures for sucrose have hovered close to 100 lbs. per capita over the past 60 years, with 1979 estimates a little lower, at about 91 lbs. per capita.
“A recent study of sugar use and water in the Finnish food industry reveals that an estimate 12% of sugar deliveries are lost as a result of spillage, fermentation, handling and other waste factors.
“Considering similarities in standard of living, methods of food production and levels of technology, the Finnish findings can provide parallel estimates for the U.S.
“Finnish companies were surveyed in 1978 to establish the amount of sugar used as a raw material and the percentage of it that is wasted. (Sugar in this study is sucrose from sugarcane and sugarbeets.)
“Because of the extremely varied applications of sugar among different industries, there was a wide range of waste figures reported. For example, sugar waste in the confectionery industry was calculated to be 4.13%. The bakery industry, on the other hand, reported a total waste figure of 32%, reflecting 26.73% lost to fermentation and 5.15% to handling, spillage and other waste. The soft drink industry [in Finland] averaged 3.50% total sugar waste, while sugar used by breweries totally disappears, producing a 100% waste figure. . . .
“It is very important to remember that these waste figures represent waste estimates at the manufacturing stage only. They do not reflect spillage, spoilage and plate waste at home or in restaurants or institutions, such as schools and hospitals.”