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By Anna Dragseth | RoundUpWeb.com
At the beginning of the growing season, Sidney Sugars asked local growers if they would be willing to participate in growing strip trials on their farm. “There is also another trial conducted along with assistance from MSU Research in Sidney, MT that we call our “Coded Varieties Trials.” This usually involves up to 30 different varieties from all major beet seed companies,” said Duane Peters, Agricultural Manager at Sidney Sugars.
The sugar beet seed varieties used in the strip trials are from Betaseed and ACH Crystal Sugar Company. Betaseed is the leading sugar beet seed brand for farmers in North America that has a high yield potential infused with the industry standard for disease tolerance. ACH Crystal Sugar Company is also known as a premier sugar beet seed supplier for many producers across America and is known for producing high-quality sugar beet seed varieties. Sidney Sugars utilizes these companies to offer six local growers the opportunity to participate in beet seed trials. They have a total of six types, three varieties from each seed brand.
There are two growers each from Savage, Sidney, and Fairview. The six farmers plant and take care of the strip trials as they would typically take care of their own sugar beets. Sidney Sugars employees label the strip trials by putting signs up in the grower’s fields, so that other farmers may review the trials. The employees also take detailed and precise notes and then record the progress of the sugar beets throughout the growing season.
During the fall, growers harvest the sugar beets separately from their beets. After harvesting the sugar beets, Sidney Sugars runs quality analyses of each variety for tons per acre and sugar percentage. “The main goal of these trials is to see how varieties perform under “true” grower farming practices,” said Peters. The information on the strip trials will then be shared with local growers at a seed meeting in November.
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October 31, 2017 at 02:48PM
By Mikkel Pates | Agweek
Tom Knudsen, vice president of agriculture for Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative of Wahpeton, N.D., said co-op member-growers had reached about 90 percent completion of the allowed harvestable acres as of Oct. 26. Farmers hit by excess rains in the Chokio and Herman areas of Minnesota probably had the farthest to go.
Minn-Dak shareholders Paul Tschakert and his son, Lucas, at Kent, Minn., finished their beet harvesting the evening of Oct. 23, leaving the required 10 percent "corral" acreage. But on Tuesday, Oct. 24, the co-op released another 5 percent, and so they've lifted all but the 5 percent that remain in the field for likely abandonment to match processing capacities.
The Tschakerts grow 130 acres of beets. They have shifted to soybean and corn harvest.
"We would have one more short day of harvest left if they released anymore. Otherwise we are done," Paul said while moving soybeans and corn on Oct. 25.
His corn crop was similar to last year's, at about 200 bushels per acre, with a 22- to 23-percent moisture content. Soybean yields were variable from the mid-30s to mid-50s in bushels per acre.
Paul said the on-again, off-again beet harvest didn't cause his farm any labor problems, per se.
"We're okay," he said. "It just pushed back finishing beans and going into the corn."
It's just part of the give and take.
Minn-Dak members planted 95,000 acres in 2017, a 17 percent reduction from the 115,000 planted in 2016, which was another big crop. In addition, the board set an initial level of 15 percent of the planted acres that might have to remain in the field, but that figure now stands at 5 percent.
Knudsen declined to speculate whether the board final 5 percent might be harvested. The 2017 crop may average 33 tons per acre and would top the 31.9 ton record set in 2016.
Knudsen says the quality is much better, however, at 17 percent sugar compared to the 15.5 percent last year.
Paul said yields are "somewhat similar" to last year's yields, in the "mid-30s."
Meanwhile, American Crystal Sugar Co., based in Moorhead, Minn., completed Oct. 20. Yield average is 30.1 tons per acre, which is second largest compared to last year at 30.4 tons per acre, co-op officials say. Preliminary data indicate sugar content may be about 18.11, up from 17.02 in 2016.
"A nice increase," says Tyler Grove, general agronomist.
Like Minn-Dak, Crystal initially advised growers they needed to identify about 15 percent of their acres as "at risk" for potential abandonment in the field. But the board reduced those percentages in stages until Oct. 12, when they told growers to harvest all remaining acres. The co-op has just 12 million tons in piles.
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October 30, 2017 at 01:36PM
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Alberta Sugar Beet Growers give tourPosted on October 26, 2017 by Vauxhall Advance
BEET STREET: Arnie Bergen-Henengouwen gives those attending the beet tour a good look at one of the beet fields located in the Taber area. Farm equipment can be located throughout beet fields across the M.D. of Taber as farmers get closer and closer to finishing harvest, the tour let everyone get up close and personal on Oct. 13. ADVANCE PHOTO BY: COLE PARKINSON
By Cole Parkinson
The Alberta Sugar Beet Growers were once again giving people the opportunity to take a tour of the process sugar beets go through from field to store.
The tour earlier this month gave a glimpse as to what goes into growing a sugar beet in the area with a tour of a local beet field.
The first stop allowed a teaching moment for those on the tour as President of the ASBG Arnie Bergen-Henengouwen gave everyone a run down on the cycle from the beginning until harvest.
He says this year’s crop looks fairly consistent with the past years and he hopes for nice weather as they continue the push.
“It’s still quite early, the crop looks very good. Initial results of the quality are really good so looking forward to really good harvesting weather in the next couple of weeks. We need three good weeks without any more moisture and relatively moderate temperatures,” said Bergen-Henengouwen.
“As long as the weather holds out we’re OK. I know our eastern growing districts haven’t harvested very much at all yet so we’re looking forward to the forecast smartening up here for sure.”
The unexpected snow storm that kicked off October wasn’t ideal for any of the farmers but they’ve had to deal with the fallout.
“We’re later than normal because we like to get going full swing October 1 where as this year we had a big snow storm on October 2 which delayed everything a week. So we’re a week to 10 days behind,” said Bergen-Henengouwen.
Farming equipment was available up close and personal to show exactly what happens daily during the harvest of sugar beets in the Taber area.
The tour then shifted over to the Lantic plant in Taber to see what happens once the beets are transported from the field.
The trucks transport the beets to the Lantic factory where they are put through the ringer in order to extract the sugar.
With harvest behind by about a week, workers in the plant are exceptionally busy and will continue to be so until the plant closes down until next season.
Reeve Brian Brewin for the M.D. of Taber had a chance to take the tour and he says that its neat to see all of the farmers and equipment up close.
“This has been a cool day because I was born and raised here and always seeing but I don’t know if I’d actually been out at the processor and everything,” said Brewin.
“It’s interesting to see everything up close with how its all done.”
The whole process takes plenty of people in order for a successful season and Brewin says the town and the M.D. see great benefits from having sugar beets grown in the area.
“The factory is based in the town but the beets are produced in the municipality, so it’s a good tie between the two. It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Brewin.
While the tour lasted over an hour, not everything was shown as the plant encompasses a massive amount of real estate but overall everyone attending got a good feel as to the process that sugar beets go through once reaching Lantic.
The plant will remain open until February of next year before shutting down for the season, typically they get started again around June.
For now though, you’ll continue to see plenty of trucks full of beets making stops to and from the Lantic factory.
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October 26, 2017 at 03:24PM
By Brian Sherrod |
Posted: Wed 4:39 PM, Oct 25, 2017 |
Updated: Wed 6:30 PM, Oct 25, 2017
The Nebraska Panhandle Research Feedlot demonstrated sugar beets being chopped up into a pile using a loader bucket.
Dairy industries in the western regions of the state have found sugar beets to be a profitable energy source to raise. Sugar beets are being used in a trial to check and see if they will show improvement with a cow’s performance. The trial contained chopped sugar beets with straw in a bucket for the cow’s consumption.
“I feel like having a little more information on where we can use sugar beets when we can’t sell them for human consumption helps the sugar beet grower a little bit,” said Karla Jenkins, Cow Calf Specialist at UNL. “It gives the man extra market for the part that they don’t get to sell for what they intended.”
Researched shows that using sugar beets to replace corn worked just as similar.
“It helps the beef cattle producers because it gives them a little more option of what they can feed cattle and possibly, that will come available to them even cheaper than some regular commodity they are typically using,” stated Jenkins.
Research in the dairy industry has reported increased milk production from feeding sugar beets to the cows.
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October 26, 2017 at 01:57PM
The view from inside the sugar beet harvester at Helmreich Farms. Photo credit: Jennifer Profitt
From the farm field to your dinner table, one Michigan company has been sweetening our foods for more than 100 years. Michigan Sugar started in 1906 and today, they’re the second biggest employer in Bay County.
“I wouldn't give it up for nothing, as you can see, I’m still not giving it up,” said Ron Helmreich, fifth generation farmer at Helmreich Farms, Inc. near the MBS Airport.
“We’re able to make a living and be our own boss and still just be independent to a point, it's not easy,” he said.
This year was especially rough. Helmreich said the flooding over the summer wreaked havoc on the sugar beet crop.
“It means a reduction in our income, the sugar beets will probably be only two-thirds of the tonnage we were anticipating,” Helmreich said.
But still, Helmreich and the other farm families in the Michigan Sugar Company cooperative harvest on.
Ray VanDriessche was a farmer most of his life and now works for Michigan Sugar. He takes us back to the sugar beet’s introduction to our region.
“Around 1898 or so when the forestry industry in the area was pretty well depleted and there was a lot of German heritage in the area and there were a lot of sugar beets grown in Europe, so the Germans were really familiar with sugar beets,” VanDriessche said.
The Great Lakes Bay area looked perfect for growing them so they tried it out. It turns out, they were right and the sugar beet industry took off. Factories popped up all over the state to take in and process sugar beets.
“Most of it was hand labor, the beets would be hand-dug or horses would pull a lifter,” VanDriessche said.
Today, a harvester can dig up as many as 12 rows at a time.
After the sugar beets leave the farm, they arrive at the Michigan Sugar factory where they are piled outside until it’s time for processing.
“We’re going to wash them, get all the dirt off of them, bring them in and cut them up into a cossette that looks like a small French fry,” VanDriessche said.
The cossettes go through a process that extracts the sugar from the beet.
“We put it in a vacuum pan and build our crystals,” he said, “we wash off the excess molasses that's the white granulated sugar you have on your table.”
It takes up to seven sugar beets to make one pound of sugar.
“We have 1,000 farm families and under a cooperative, we're raising about 160,000 acres of sugar beets,” VanDriessche said. That’s about 1.2 billion pounds of sugar.
With 2,350 part and full-time employees working under the cooperative, Michigan Sugar is a sweet addition to mid-Michigan’s economic landscape.
Even though farmers have a tough job, Helmreich knows how to ride with the ebbs and flows of the seasons. We asked him the secret to his success.
“Do your research, do your planning and it takes more than eight hours a day to be an independent business person or small business, you need to really hang with it,” he said.
The Profitt Report wants to hear from you - please send consumer questions and story ideas to ProfittReport@WSMH.com
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October 26, 2017 at 08:33AM
Staff, commissioners: Farmers undermined effort
Michigan Sugar Company is proud to be a grower-owned cooperative. Locally grown. Locally owned.