Storage Rot Costs Beet Industry Millions During Each Campaign — “A sugar factory could have recovered 2.8 million more pounds of sucrose from 280,000 tons of sugarbeets had they been protected against storage rots with the fungicide thiabendazole or been genetically resistant to the rots.
“Those estimates by [USDA] plant pathologist William M. Bugbee, Fargo, N.D., are based on results comparing genetically resistant breeding lines and susceptible commercial hybrids, with and without fungicide dipping, under field conditions. “The estimates are possible because untreated, susceptible hybrids in one test developed about the same amount of rot as was found in rot-susceptible roots held more than 100 days at a sugar processing factory. Thiabendazole treatment reduced storage rot to a trace amount in susceptible hybrids after 100 days of storage. Rot in the genetically resistant lines was nearly as low.
“The research by Bugbee and [USDA] plant physiologist Darrell F. Cole suggests the level of protection that is possible against rot-caused sucrose losses when genetic resistance has been incorporated in cultivars acceptable to the industry. Two breeding lines developed by Bugbee and released to breeders in 1977 . . . carry high levels of resistance to Phoma beta, the chief fungal cause of sugarbeet storage rot in this country, as well as moderate resistance to Botrytis cinerea and Penicillium claviforme rots. . . . “Thiabendazole is not generally available for use on sugarbeets. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, has granted an exemption to registered uses of thiabendazole in Washington, Idaho and Michigan for treating 400,000 tons of sugarbeet roots.”
Coca-Cola Says HFCS Is OK — “Coca-Cola Co., the nation’s largest soft drink producer, has decided to use high-fructose corn sweetener in Coke, a move likely to send significant ripples through the entire sweetener industry. The move by the nation’s largest sugar buyer sent sugar prices tumbling, but they have recovered and continue to move higher.
“Coca-Cola has allowed bottlers to use a high level of high-fructose corn sweetener in its non-cola products since June 1978, but the decision to use it in its bestknown brand has been eagerly awaited by the fructose producers. Their product is normally at least 10% less expensive than the beet and cane sugars long used to sweeten Coke. . . “Coca-Cola had resisted using the sweetener in its Coke drink because of taste problems. A few years ago, J. Paul Austin, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, was quoted as saying that when high-fructose sweeteners are mixed with the ingredients used to make Coke, a chemical reaction is produced that throws off the taste. But the company apparently has been able to solve that problem. Coca-Cola said lab tests and an 18-month consumer test market at a company-owned bottling plant showed there wasn’t any difference in taste or quality between fructose-sweetened Coke and regular Coke.”
Carter Cuts Tariff — “President Carter reduced the duty on imported raw sugar to 0.625 cent a pound, the lowest level allowed by law. The decision, announced by Alfred Kahn, chairman of the Council on Wage and Price Stability, brings the duty down from the 2.8125-cent level that has been in effect since Nov. 11, 1977. Kahn said the reduction would relieve consumers of the ‘unnecessary inflationary effect’ of the higher duty. Specifically, he said the lower duty would save consumers more than $450 million in 1980.
“Kahn said that world prices for raw sugar have risen high enough that domestic producers can cover their ‘reasonable’ costs without a higher duty. But he said the Carter administration remained committed to take actions to assure producers a minimum price of 15.8 cents a pound should prices fall in the future.”
Congress Blamed — “American consumers can thank the United States Congress for sugar price increases about to come their way, according to S.N. Knight, Sr., president of the Florida Sugar Cane League.
“Since the Sugar Stabilization Act of 1979 was defeated by Congress October 23, domestic spot market prices have increased to over 20 cents per pound — a much higher price than the 15.8 cents called for in the legislation backed by the sugar industry.
“ ‘We may be about to witness a situation similar to the one in 1974 which also occurred when Congress failed to enact legislation to stabilize the price of sugar,’ said Knight in his address during the Florida Sugar Cane League’s 16th annual meeting. ‘In 1974, the sugar industry was unjustly accused of raising sugar prices to the detriment of American consumers. Let the record stand clear now. The United States Congress and the office of the President must shoulder most of the responsibility for the tremendous instability in today’s sugar market,’ continued Knight.
“According to the League president, Congress was fooled in the name of consumers. Some sugar refiners and industrial users used the consumer movements to kill the sugar bill, saying the legislation would be inflationary.”