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An addendum was added to the harvest contract between the Montana Dakota Beet Growers Association and Sidney Sugars this year in order to accept frozen sugar beets. Those beets are being processed first. Both parties agree it was a necessary agreement with the hardships of this year’s harvest.
“We met with the grower board and agreed to harvest the beets that were frozen,” Dave Garland, general manager at Sidney Sugars, said. “Normally these aren’t beets that we would have taken.”
In total, 186,739 net tons of frozen beets were harvested. Of those, 108,000 tons were processed as normal. Grower beets account for 78,400 tons.
“We’ve processed all the Sidney beets, the 108,000 [tons],” Garland said. “Now we’re into the grower beets, the 78,000. We’ve processed 26,000 [tons] of those so far, with 52,000 [tons] remaining.”
Garland said the frozen beets are currently processing well and if they continue to do well, they can be done with them in just over a week. With beet harvest wrapped up and processing underway, it’s important temperatures remain cold for the remainder of the beets.
“Keep in mind last week’s temperatures were well above what we were hoping to see,” Garland said. “We are seeing significant juicing from the piles.”
Don Steinbeisser Jr., Sidney director of the Montana Dakota Beet Growers Association, isn’t necessarily experiencing optimism this season, but he does believe the majority of the beets will get processed by Sidney Sugars.
“I think they’re going to get at least the majority of them done,” he said. “They’re keeping their word as far as trying really hard to get them processed.”
The health of the beets sitting in pile isn’t a concern for Steinbeisser, who said the beets were in good condition coming in and they won’t be sitting much longer. Scott Buxbaum, president of Montana Dakota Beet Growers Association, expressed mild concerns about the sitting beet piles.
“There has been some deterioration of the piles. There has been a little bit of juice running out on some of the edges of the piles,” he said. “We’re hoping for cold weather, which we’re getting now, and that should help.”
Buxbaum said there is some pol difference due to beet deterioration, which refers to the amount of sugar that went into the pile versus the amount of sugar that is coming out of the pile.
For this year’s harvest, Buxbaum thought area growers got three different types of harvest for the price of one. There was “normal” harvest, “freeze” beets, and the “freeze addendum” beets. From a grower’s perspective, the addendum was the only option they had to get those beets out of the ground.
“Basically what it says is that the company will pile the beets, they will process the beets, but if it gets to a point where the beets are too deteriorated to process economically, then they will load the beets onto farmer trucks,” Buxbaum said. “The farmer would be responsible to remove his percentage of the beets that are discarded.”
Buxbaum said another challenge of 2019 beet harvest was the long waits at beet dumps, where some drivers sat up to four hours in line. The Growers Association is working with Sidney Sugars to solve some of those issues for next year.
In total, a net of 944,000 tons of sugar beets were harvested this year. An estimated 1,200 acres went unharvested, but most of those acres were covered under insurance, Garland said.
Duane Peters, agriculture manager with Sidney Sugars, said harvest officially ended on Tuesday, Nov. 5, this year. There was an average of 32 tons per acre and an average sugar content of 17 percent.
“Weather was a huge factor for the 2019 sugar beet harvest,” Peters said. “Several delays were caused due to frost and then mud from the above norm precip that we got in September… it made for the receiving stations and fields to have the difficult times experienced during harvest.”
Peters said the moisture also delayed the start of harvest, which was expected to start Sept. 20. All five stations weren’t officially running until Oct. 7.
As far as potential disaster relief, Peters said they’d like to see something like that, but for all crops in the area, not just sugar beets.
“This weather we had this fall, this affected everything. Wheat, corn, sugar beets,” he said. “So to see something done like that, I think it would be helpful to the growers.”
Buxbaum said he’s been in touch with many entities about a possible disaster declaration, but doesn’t know if it will happen.
“It’s going to depend on how these beets process,” he said. “The majority of the beets did get out of the ground, so I don’t know if there would be the criteria there for a disaster or not at this point.”
Steinbeisser said it’s going to be a tough year for all area growers.
“If you’re one of the guys like us who had to leave beets in the ground, our profit is pretty much out in the field. We’re going to not get paid to work this year,” Steinbeisser said. “Just about every crop got affected… The last time it was this tough with beet harvest was 1959, before I was born. I hope it’s at least that long before we have a bad one like this again.”
https://ift.tt/339cava Sugar Beet News |
via Sidney Herald
November 22, 2019 at 03:53PM
FARGO, N.D. -- The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association has announce that Harrison Weber has been named as the Association’s new executive director.
The Association represents approximately 2,500 sugar beet growers from both Minnesota and North Dakota who are shareholders in American Crystal Sugar Company.
Prior to joining the Association, Weber worked at the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and most recently with the North Dakota Soybean Council.
“I am excited for the opportunity to work with our producers in the Red River Valley and with our legislative partners at the state and national levels," Weber said in a statement.
Weber grew up in Casselton, N.D., and received his bachelor's of science in business administration from Valley City State University and his law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks. He will begin his new duties on Dec. 2.
“We are pleased to have Harrison coming to work for us. He brings experience in raising sugarbeets as well as in working directly with growers’ associations," said Dan Younggren, president of the Growers Association, in a statement.
Weber replaces former executive director Duane Maatz, with whom the Association parted ways after deciding it wanted someone to be more involved in lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C.
Harrison has ties to the both his former and new organizations, through his family. His father, Mark F. Weber, of Casselton, was executive director of the RRVSGA for 12 years, ending in 2003. Prior to that, Mark was the founding executive director of the North Dakota Soybean Council and North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, where he served six years. Mark spent some time in industry and went on to be executive director of the Northern Crops Institute from 2011 through 2017.
https://ift.tt/2QEOegp Sugar Beet News |
via www.agweek.com https://www.agweek.com
November 21, 2019 at 02:02PM
Matthew Krueger lost 60% of the sugar beets he raises near East Grand Forks, Minn., with his father and brother to wet conditions and freezing temperatures. Ann Bailey/Grand Forks Herald
American Crystal Sugar Co. told its shareholders this week that they will receive $37 per ton for the 2019 sugar beet crop.
That’s about $14 per ton, or 28%, less than last year’s payment. The announcement was made at the company’s fall factory district meetings held in Drayton, N.D., and Crookston, Minn., on Tuesday, Nov. 19, and in East Grand Forks, Minn., and Hillsboro, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The factory district meeting in Moorhead, Minn., will be Thursday, Nov. 21 .
About 2,800 Red River Valley farmers grow sugar beets for American Crystal Sugar. In 2018, farmers who grow sugar beets for the company produced 11.1 million tons. The 2018 sugar beet payment to the producers was slightly more than $51 per ton.
American Crystal Sugar Co. spokesman Jeff Schweitzer on Wednesday declined to disclose the amount of the 2019 sugar beet payment, saying the company has a responsibility to talk to its shareholders before it speaks with the media. The Moorhead factory district meeting had not yet been held when he was contacted.
However, sources who attended factory district meetings confirmed that $37 per ton is this year's payout.
This year’s payment is lower than last year's because farmers had to leave approximately 3.5 million tons of their crop in the field this fall. It means 66% of the crop was harvested.
Heavy rain in September and October saturated fields, making them too muddy to harvest. Then, unseasonably cold temperatures in early November froze the sugar beets, rendering them unsuitable for processing.
The harvest situation American Crystal faced this fall was unprecedented in the cooperative’s history, according to East Grand Forks farmer Matthew Krueger. Farmers are shareholders with the company, and thus required to provide predetermined quotas to the factories; this year, with the reduced harvest, the company is requiring its farmers to pay back $343 per unharvested acre.
Krueger believes the American Crystal management team handled the situation the best it could under the circumstances, and he understands why the company has directed its growers to make the payments.
Krueger had to leave about 60% of his crop – or 424 of his 682 sugar beet acres – in the field this fall. Krueger, who raises the crop with his father Kevin and brother Ben, believes it’s fair that farmers have to pay back the company for the unharvested acres. American Crystal needs the money to keep the cooperative viable, he said.
“Short-term pain for long-term gain,” Krueger said. “Crystal is us; that is our company.”
Since American Crystal Sugar is a cooperative, Krueger said the money farmers pay for the unharvested acres ultimately will be returned to growers.
Not all of the cooperative's farmers feel the same way, Krueger acknowledged. The meeting he attended lasted three hours, which is longer than fall meetings typically last, in part because some growers are unhappy with the way management handled some of its decisions this fall.
“I think the big thing some growers aren’t grasping is that if the company doesn’t do well, it will affect us,” Krueger said.
There’s talk among some farmers who grow sugar beets for American Crystal that they don’t believe it’s worth it to put in another crop next year. Krueger is not among them.
“I love this co-op. I think it’s the best co-op in the whole world,” Krueger said.
https://ift.tt/338yF3h Sugar Beet News |
via www.agweek.com https://www.agweek.com
November 21, 2019 at 01:31PM
The fall harvest has been a difficult one for Minnesota’s sugarbeet farmers.
Starting in October, fields were too wet for many farmers to dig beets from the ground. Then, in the past two weeks, a series of frigid days froze the unharvested beets still in the fields — and the harvest was officially declared over. Nearly one-third of this year’s crop remains frozen in the ground.
And then, more bad news: Farmers now have to pay their cooperatives for the beets they were unable to harvest.
“This is far and away the worst [year], as far as beets left in the field,” said Dan Younggren, who has raised sugarbeets near Hallock, Minn., for about 40 years.
Younggren was one of many of the 2,800 members of the Moorhead-based American Crystal Sugar cooperative who were forced to leave beets in the ground to freeze over winter. He’s had to leave 40 percent of his fields un-harvested.
"It's a devastating hit to all of agriculture right now," said Younggren, who is also president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Sugarbeets are different from many other crops grown in Minnesota, in that farmers become members of a cooperative, which processes and markets the crop, returning a payment to farmer-members. The largest sugarbeet co-op in Minnesota is American Crystal Sugar, which planted nearly 390,000 acres of sugar beets this year. About 118,000 of those acres will remain in the ground because fields were too wet this fall for harvest.
It’s been a tough harvest for every crop grown in the region. Farmers fought through mud to harvest crops during a wet fall, and this year’s sugarbeet losses come on top of several years of low crop prices and an ongoing trade war with China.
"This is going to have a tail that's going to last many years, for many people, trying to pull themselves out of this,” said Younggren. “It's going to be some tough skidding, no doubt."
Adding insult to injury, the sugarbeet farmer-members are now required to pay American Crystal Sugar Cooperative for each acre of beets not harvested.
American Crystal Sugar did not respond to a request for information about the harvest, but several growers confirmed that, as part of their contract to grow sugarbeets for the cooperative, they must now pay $343 for every acre they’ve left in the ground.
The money will help cover operating costs for the cooperative’s five sugar processing plants. Normally, the operating costs come from the sale of sugar, but because the cooperative will be processing a third fewer beets this year, farmers need to shoulder the extra cost.
"We're a co-op. Sometimes you thrive together, sometimes you suffer together,” said Younggren. “You have to share in the cost of keeping the company alive, so that's the number they came up with, [and] that's the number we'll live with."
For Younggren, that will mean paying about $170,000 for a crop he didn't harvest, in addition to the money he spent growing the crop he didn’t harvest. Part of that loss will be covered by insurance.
Sugarbeets are cooked and processed into sugar, molasses and pulp used for livestock feed. Beets account for more than half of the eight million tons of sugar produced in the U.S. every year, and sold in stores or used in food production. Sixty percent of U.S. sugarbeets are grown in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Three sugar-producing cooperatives run the sugarbeet industry in the region around western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. American Crystal is the largest. Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, based in Wahpeton, N.D., and Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, based in Renville, Minn., each have about 500 grower-members.
Minn-Dak Cooperative couldn’t be reached for information about this year’s harvest.
But for the farmers of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, whose fields are a couple hundred miles south of the Red River Valley, the harvest went more smoothly. They were able to harvest 99 percent of their crop.
“We’re feeling very fortunate, compared to some of our friends to the north,” said the co-op’s vice president for agriculture, Todd Geselius.
But even in southern Minnesota, the harvest wasn’t perfect. While most of the co-op’s sugarbeets were harvested, a wet spring delayed planting, which meant the crop fell short of average in both yield and sugar content, key measures of how much farmers are paid for the crop, said Geselius.
"Chances are it's not going to be a great year -- certainly not good enough to make the kind of payment we would like to make to the growers,” he said.
Sugarbeet farmers in southern Minnesota had a record harvest in 2017, but very wet conditions since then are likely to make this year the second of below-average payments in as many years.
Up north, farmers will likely pivot from harvesters to spreadsheets -- factoring insurance payments for lost crops against the cost of growing the crop -- to better understand the full impact of this year’s late planting season and incomplete harvest.
There may also be payments from a USDA disaster assistance program, but farmers are waiting for more information about that process.
Dan Younggren said he plans to meet with his crop insurance agent and spend some time crunching numbers to grasp the full economic impact of leaving so much of his crop in the field.
"The dust is still flying, as they would say, so as soon as the dust settles, then we'll know,” he said. “You can pencil a loss -- now it's a question of how much of a loss it's going to be."
Sugar Beet News |
via MPR News https://www.mprnews.org
November 21, 2019 at 10:47AM
This fall’s sugar beet harvest is the worst in decades in northwestern Minnesota and North Dakota, another blow in a difficult year for American farmers and one that is quickly rippling through the nation’s food supply.
The reason: Rain and snow kept farmers in much of the region out of fields until the sugar beet crop had been damaged by frost. And the problem for sugar supplies broadly was made worse by the cold snap earlier this week that extended deep into the southern U.S., where sugar cane harvests were also harmed.
As a result, sugar prices have been rising in commodity trading this week on expectations that U.S. farmers won’t be able to meet demand and food producers will have to turn to imports.
Two major distributors of sugar, including Edina-based United Sugars Corp., reportedly took the rare step this week of declaring “force majeure,” telling customers they won’t be able to deliver on contracts because of forces beyond their control. An executive of the company didn’t return calls for comment Thursday.
But with sugar already extremely cheap — selling for just under 13 cents per pound on commodity markets this week — and companies able to bring sugar in from elsewhere, the poor harvest should have little effect on food prices for consumers.
In the Upper Midwest, it’s difficult for harvesting equipment to pull sugar beets out of frozen ground. Data is still being collected, but farmers in some parts of Minnesota and North Dakota lost more than one-fourth of their crop.
“This is hands-down the worst harvest we’ve had in 48 years,” said Mike Metzger, a vice president of the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, which operates a sugar beet processing plant in Wahpeton, N.D., for about 500 farmers, including 350 in Minnesota.
Minnesota is the largest sugar beet-growing state in the nation, and North Dakota is the second-largest. The two states account for over half of the nation’s sugar beet acres.
Both the August pre-harvest and the full harvest, which typically starts Oct. 1, were delayed because the ground was too wet. Farmers usually harvest about one-tenth of their crop for immediate processing in August and September. The rest is harvested later in the fall, then piled up to freeze for processing through the winter. A burst of rain at the end of September delayed the October harvest, and farmers never caught up.
“It just didn’t quit,” Metzger said. “We kept getting rain showers. We got buried with a couple inches of snow. And we got hit with some freezing temperatures.”
American Crystal Sugar Co. farmers in the region, most of them farther north than Minn-Dak farmers, lost more than a third of their harvest. Growers told the Grand Forks Herald that they must pay American Crystal $343 for every unharvested acre. The money will help the cooperative cover the operating costs of its processing plants.
Executives at American Crystal did not respond to a request for comment.
Western Sugar Cooperative, which represents farmers in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska, also declared a force majeure this week. “These are the worst weather conditions we have had as a cooperative,” Heather Luther, its general counsel, told Reuters. The Denver-based cooperative dates to 2002.
The trouble for sugar beet growers and distributors comes after farmers of corn and soybeans were walloped by rain-driven planting delays and the loss of key export markets due to the trade wars. In Minnesota, as of early this week, the corn harvest was about two weeks behind its average pace while nearly all of the state’s soybeans were harvested.
At this time of year, harvested sugar beets are generally stored in piles on the ground next to sugar factories because, thanks to their high water content, the bulk of the pile stays frozen even when temperatures briefly warm up.
But when they’re still in the ground, getting frozen and then thawing again renders a sugar beet almost worthless. “That freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw damages the tissue,” Metzger said. “We can’t store something like that.”
Those beets “juice out” when they’re piled up so they can’t sit long enough to be processed.
Minn-Dak took unusual measures to try to accept as many sugar beets as possible. The cooperative allowed farmers to stockpile beets on their land, accepted frozen beets directly into the processing facility and accepted beets that don’t meet their standards for heat.
“We absolutely did everything we could and threw away our playbook on receiving sugar beets, to try to get as many acres as we could,” Metzger said.
For farmers in southern Minnesota, the harvest went well.
“We actually harvested 99% of our crop. We only left a few acres,” said Todd Geselius, a vice president of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative near Renville. “We’re feeling very fortunate.”
Sugar Beet News |
via Star Tribune https://ift.tt/HvUHyi
November 21, 2019 at 10:45AM
BETASEED, INC. presented a $500 check to the Scottsbluff FFA group for their participation in our 9th
annual Progressive Agriculture Safety Day. This important event, which is a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Committee and Betaseed, is held annually at the Scotts Bluff County Fairgrounds and has helped teach hundreds of children the value of safety at home and on the farm.
The Scottsbluff FFA group has assisted facilitating this event for the past 6 years. “We would like to thank the Scottsbluff FAA group for their continued participation. We could not do this without them.” said John Dillman, Regional Sales Manager, Betaseed, Inc. “Their support makes hosting this event even more successful. We really appreciate their help.”
Betaseed, Inc., headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, is North America’s premier sugarbeet seed company. From our start in 1970, Betaseed has maintained a longstanding commitment to the beet sugar industry, with research and seed production operations in several states and marketing seed to all sugarbeet markets. Our mission is to develop the best performing seed products and services through innovative people, plant breeding, and seed technology.
Written By: Ann Bailey / Forum News Service
Hillsboro sugarbeet farmer Jason Siegert surveys what would have been one of his best beet crops but is now being shredded to prepare for next year's crop. American Crystal Sugar Co. halted the harvest Saturday, Nov. 9, with about one-third of the crop left in the fields. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
HILLSBORO, N.D. -- Jason Siegert’s eyes welled up as he watched his sugar beet crop go under the corn shredder.
“That’s the hardest part, to have a crop out there and know we couldn’t get it, and now, we have to mow it off,” Siegert said Wednesday, Nov. 13, as he stood in the field east of the Hillsboro American Crystal Sugar Co. factory. The field that Siegert’s son, Lee, was shredding was one of several that make up the 1,050 sugar beet acres Siegert raises with his business partner, Paul Kozojed.
Siegert hoped that by Friday, Nov. 15, the shredding would be done, and he would be finished with the 2019 sugar beet crop.
"We are shredding tops off them for, hopefully, next year’s crop,” Siegert said. “You get rid of the crops, so the tops will dry out and not catch a lot of snow, and things will be more rotten and dry out better, and you won’t have to deal with a matted mess."
Siegert and Kozojed, who call their business SK Farms, had to leave 860 acres of their sugar beets in the field after American Crystal halted the harvest Saturday, Nov. 9. The company made the decision because freezing temperatures and excessive mud made the sugar beets it was receiving unsuitable for processing. American Crystal Sugar Co. received about 7. 5 million tons -- 66% -- of its total crop before it ended the 2019 harvest.
Siegert and Kozojed, like other farmers, who had to leave sugar beets in the field will have to pay American Crystal Sugar Co. $343 per acre they were unable to harvest. The company will use the money to pay its fixed costs.
This, Siegert’s 40th year of farming, has been the most challenging. That’s despite raising sugar beets during the drought of ‘88, when he harvested only 10 to 13 tons of sugar beets per acre. This loss hurts more because the 2019 crop, unlike the 1988 crop, had high yield potential, Siegert said.
“This is probably one of the biggest crops we ever had. We probably had 35, 40 tons per acre,” he said.
The moisture that helped produce the large yields also was the downfall of the sugar beet crop. The spring started out wet and the growing season ended wet.
“We just never got a break,” Siegert said. ”I kept thinking ‘It’s going to dry up and we’re going to be OK.’ Then it rained in August, then it rained in September, and then it rained in October, and I said this (the harvest) is not going to happen.”
Leaving 860 acres of sugar beets in the field this fall will take a big bite of SK Farms' finances.
“I would think we’ll go backwards a considerable sum,” Siegert said.
After receiving crop federal crop insurance payments, SK Farms will lose roughly $200,000 to $300,000 this crop year, he estimated.
Because input costs and machinery costs are high, it will be harder this year to dig out of the red than it was during the farming crisis of the 1980s, Siegert said.
“The numbers are different. The dollars are different. You can go $100,000 backward so quick. Land rent is three times what it was back then," he said. “Back in the ‘80s, I bought a tractor for $40,000. Today you can pay $300,000 to $400,000 for a row-crop tractor -- and you wouldn’t get much.”
Siegert already knows that, under the best circumstances, next spring will be challenging.
“Nobody’s got fall tillage done. Nobody’s got any fertilizer done. We’re going to be under the gun again," he said.
Siegert leans on his Christian faith to help him navigate through the ups and downs of farming, talking to God on his own and taking part in men’s prayer groups at his church.
“It’s easy to be a Christian when things are good. It’s hard to be a Christian when times are tough, but you have to,” Siegert said.
Sugar Beet News |
via Grand Forks Herald https://ift.tt/2zM6KZc
November 14, 2019 at 04:23PM
By Caitlyn French, mlive.com
BAY CITY, MI - Despite having to contend with heavy spring rains, soggy fields, and early cold weather freezing the fields, area sugar beet farmers are on track to finish harvesting a successful 2019 crop.© Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS A truck full of sugar beets gets ready to unload at Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
Grower-owned Michigan Sugar is reaching final stages of harvesting this year’s crop, despite weather setbacks. As of Tuesday, Nov. 12, some 97% of the company’s crop has been harvested and delivered.
Michigan Sugar anticipates a yield of approximately 28.7 tons per acre with a crop sugar content average of 18.1%. For comparison, the 2018 crop was at 29.31 tons per acre with a sugar content of 16.2% and the 2017 crop was 25.56 tons per acre at 18.4% sugar content.© Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS A pile of sugar beets at Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
“Right now, we feel really fortunate and grateful that the numbers are looking the way they are," said Michigan Sugar spokesman Rob Clark.
According to Clark, there are just 2,000 acres left that still have beets in the ground out of 154,000 total acres planted. A recent cold snap has caused a bit of a snag, but Clark and local growers are betting on a window of warm weather forecast to hit next week, with temperatures expected to climb into the high 30s and low 40s.
“That’s a very small amount that’s left to harvest. We actually anticipate that we’ll still be able to get those out of the ground," he said.
Clark said last year’s crop had to contend with leaf-spot disease but that this year’s crop is healthy and in the clear from the ailment.
Beating the weather
From planting to harvest, beet producers have had a lot on their plate to contend with this year weather-wise.© Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Sugar beets fill a hopper at Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
“This has been a very interesting year in that Mother Nature really made things challenging for our growers, right from the beginning," said Clark.© Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Sugar beets ride a conveyer belt at Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
He said that farmers for Michigan Sugar were still planting beets the second week of June this year, which is later than normal. He attributed the delay to a wet and cold spring that hindered planting schedules.
Two big rain events that soaked the state this fall complicated harvest time. Fields in the Bay City and Thumb area were especially wet and muddy, making it difficult for equipment to get into the field.
“This is probably the toughest harvest that I’ve ever remembered,” said Daniel Bublitz, Tuscola County MSU Extension beet educator.© Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS A pile of sugar beets at Michigan Sugar Company in Bay City on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.
“Normally, after the rain, we could just wait and let things just dry out a little bit. But with this cold weather coming we really had to keep on rushing and keep going to get them out," he said.
The trouble hasn’t stopped once the beets are out of the ground. Muddy fields have been a hindrance at Michigan Sugar’s piling grounds. Clark said that workers have had to contend with cold temperatures and mud from the fields getting into and impacting their equipment.
Bublitz explained that prolonged cold can damage the beet’s roots. However, the recent Veteran’s Day snowstorm might have actually given the beets an extra fighting chance. Bublitz said that while it’s yet to be determined the status of the remaining beets in the ground, the blanket of snow may just work to insulate them to prevent damage.
Meanwhile, the cold weather this week is not entirely bad news. The cold is useful for the beets that are currently in Michigan Sugar’s 11 piling locations. Bublitz explained that cold weather is preferred for beet storage.
“It slows down the metabolism of the beet, so it doesn’t use as much sugar. It also slows down the metabolism of pathogens that eat them up in the pile," he said.
“It’s always a balancing act at this time of year because we want it to be cold enough that our piles are healthy but we want it to warm up enough that our equipment can get into those fields and we can get those last beets,” he said.
Despite the challenges, local beet growers have been working together as a team to get this year’s crop out of the ground and to the piles.
Clark said that he’s gotten reports of what he calls “acts of sweetness.” Farmers have helped each other out by lending out equipment or showing up in their neighbor’s fields ready to work.
“It’s inspiring to see that kind of teamwork, but it also speaks to the tremendous challenge that this harvest has presented our growers,” he said.
https://ift.tt/2evqqtP Sugar Beet News |
via MSN https://www.msn.com
November 14, 2019 at 04:23PM
American Crystal Sugar Co. growers who couldn't deliver crop will have to repay company $343 per unharvested acre
MOORHEAD — American Crystal Sugar Co. farmer shareholders who had to leave sugar beets in the field this fall will have to pay back the company $343 per acre for the unharvested acres, said growers for the company. The money will be used to cover the company's fixed costs.
Farmers who grow sugar beets for American Crystal Sugar Co. were unable to harvest about one-third of the crop, said Jeff Schweitzer, American Crystal Sugar Co. spokesman. The company received about 7.5 million tons of sugar beets this fall, Schweitzer said. American Crystal Sugar Co. typically receives about 11.5 million tons of beets each harvest.
The Moorhead-based company told farmers Saturday, Nov. 9, that it was halting the harvest because it is not economical to process the sugar beets, which were in poor condition and had high levels of mud and leaves mixed in with them. The decision to end the 2019 harvest came two weeks after American Crystal Sugar Co. informed its growers it would accept 1.2 million tons of frozen beets. The company typically does not accept frozen beets.
The 2019 sugar beet harvest was stymied by wet weather from the start, when both the onset of the pre-pile harvest in August and the full harvest in October were delayed by rain and, later, snow. Harvest conditions only got worse as October progressed; a storm dumped as much as 2 feet of snow on already saturated soil, leaving fields too muddy to support harvest equipment.
In late October, temperatures dropped into the upper teens in some areas, then dipped into the lower teens in early November, freezing the beets..
This is the first time farmers in the Red River Valley have had to quit harvesting sugar beets because of freezing temperatures during harvest, growers for American Crystal Sugar Co. said Tuesday, Nov. 12.
“This is definitely one for the record books,” said Matthew Krueger, who farms near East Grand Forks, Minn. Krueger was unable to harvest about 450 acres of sugar beets, which represents more than 60% of his crop, he said.
“It probably would have been one of our biggest crops ever,” Krueger said. Now, instead of topping the sugar beets to prepare them for digging, he is preparing for the 2020 planting season by cutting off the tops so they can rot in the field. Then, Krueger hopes to plant a different crop and put 2019 behind him.
Farther south on the North Dakota side of the Red River, Jason Siegert, of Hillsboro, is shredding the sugar beet tops of more than 800 acres with a corn shredder. Siegert had to leave about 80 percent of the 1,050 acres he planted this spring because his fields were too wet to harvest before they froze.
“We’re going to leave them, and hopefully, winter and spring is good to us and we can plant something,” Siegert said. He’s not sure what he will plant in the fields next year, he said.
“It’s kind of all new ground. We’re trying to figure out what to do,” Siegert said.
Federal crop insurance will cover some of his losses, Siegert said. But Siegert, like the other farmers who couldn’t harvest their sugar beets, will have to pay American Crystal Sugar and for him, that will amount to roughly $280,000. Even with insurance, he will come out in the red this year on his beet acres, he said.
“That’s a tough pill to swallow,” Siegert said.
Krueger said crop insurance basically pays for part of what farmers could have harvested in a typical year, but it does not pay extra for fixed costs.
Neither Siegert nor Krueger are certain about how the reduction in the sugar beets American Crystal Sugar Co. receives will affect processing, but they speculated it will cut it short by at least a couple of months. Processing in the company's five factory districts usually is completed in May or June.
Schweitzer said American Crystal Sugar Co. is not answering any questions beyond verifying the halt of the harvest Nov. 9 and the amount of tons the company has received.
American Crystal Sugar Co. will hold factory district meetings in East Grand Forks, Hillsboro, Drayton, N.D., Crookston, Minn., and Moorhead next week.
Sugar Beet News |
via West Central Tribune https://www.wctrib.com
November 14, 2019 at 09:42AM
It has been a long season for most, the same goes for the sugar beet farmers.
The beets are frozen in the ground but as long as the farmers can get to them they will be delivering to Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op.
This is the first time Minn-Dak has gone through a season like this one, so they've had to change up the playbook.
The co-op knows the beets from here on out are going to be frozen, so now the focus is on getting beets and not frozen mud chunks which the co-op and growers are taking extra steps to prevent.
Mike Metzger, VP of Agriculture for the Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op talks more about the 2019 harvest season for the farmers of Minn-Dak.
Sugar Beet News |
via The Mighty 790 KFGO https://kfgo.com
November 14, 2019 at 09:42AM