‘They’ve Been Pretty Good to Us’ / By Phil Mills, Jr. — “Derek Cantrell has lived near Buhl, Idaho, for 49 years. And for 30 of those years, he’s been raising sugar-beets and competing with his neighbors for top yields and high sugar levels.
“ ‘They’ve been good to us,’ he points out. ‘Sugarbeets are a pretty stable crop in this area.’
“The decision to raise sugarbeets was based on market stability. It also gave Cantrell, who farms in partnership with his son, Rick, a chance to ‘specialize in sugarbeet production.’ Cantrell grows about 250 acres of sugarbeets each year, in addition to 70 acres of malt barley, commercial pinto beans for seed and winter and spring wheat.
“Although sugarbeets have been good to Cantrell, he knows his success didn’t happen by accident. ‘It takes tender, loving care,’ he explains. ‘You have to get involved with each crop you raise.’ . . .
“Cantrell’s sugar level ranges from 15.5 to 17 percent. His average is about 16.4 percent. Yields vary by field. He has an annual goal of between 22 and 25 tons per acre. ‘You’ll lose tonnage going for high sugar. But, I figure you can give up two tons of yield for the sugar,’ he adds.”
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