X Slider Background Settings
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released the latest Crop Progress report on Tuesday. In the report, harvest progress updates where given for the country's top four sugarbeet producing states, which accounted for 83% of the sugarbeet production in the U.S. in 2017.
North Dakota now leads with way with 45% of their crop harvested. That is up from 20% the previous week, but behind last year’s mark of 56%. The five-year average is 54%.
Not far behind is Minnesota at 41% harvested. They made tremendous progress from just 18% the week before. Their current pace is up from 38% at this point last year, but slightly behind the five-year average of 46%.
Idaho and Michigan are both at 34%, which matches the pace Idaho was at last year. It is also slightly above the five-year average of 29% for the Gem State.
Michigan is also ahead of their 2017 harvest progress of 28% and their five-year average of 22%. Last week, the Michigan crop was 30% harvested.
Harvest in nearly all of North Dakota and Minnesota has been shut down this week due to heavy rain, followed by accumulating snow. While temperatures remain around 25-35 degrees, things are supposed to warm up next week and growers are hopeful they can get back in the fields.
North Dakota, Michigan & Idaho Sugarbeet Planting Progress Now Ahead of Average
The USDA released the Crop Progress Report for the week of May 6th. In the report, planting progress data for the country’s top four sugarbeet producing states were listed.
Sugarbeet planting across the country has seen tremendous progress over the last week. Percentage-wise, Michigan had the biggest gains. The Wolverine State now has 80% of his projected sugarbeet acres planted, ahead of last year’s pace of 46% and the five-year average of 59%. Last week, Michigan had just 13% of its acres planted.
North Dakota has crossed the halfway point at 66% completed. Despite being two percentage points behind last year’s pace, N.D. is now ahead of the five year average of 53%.
Idaho is nearing completion of its sugarbeet planting season. Ninety-two percent of the Gem State’s projected acres are in the ground, ahead of the five-year average by one percentage point. Last year at this point, Idaho had 87% of its beets planted.
Minnesota, the largest sugarbeet producing state, is sitting at 50% completed. That is up from just 10% last week, but behind the five-year average of 57% and last year’s mark of 74%.
Stay tuned to SugarPub.com throughout the growing season for news covering all U.S. sugarbeet producing regions!
Sugarbeet Planting Commences for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota
The USDA released the Crop Progress Report for the week of April 29th. In the report, planting progress data for the country’s top four sugarbeet producing states were listed.
Sugarbeet planting is officially underway for the country’s largest sugar producing area; the Red River Valley. Both Minnesota and North Dakota have put 10% of their projected crop in the ground. The five year average for Minnesota is 44%, while North Dakota’s is 38%
The Michigan planting season is also underway. Thirteen percent of their crop has been planted, up from one percent last week. At this point last year, Michigan was sitting at 28% completed. Their five year average is 35%.
Idaho remains the only state listed in the report that is ahead of both last year’s pace and the five year average. The Gem State has planted 85% of its projected sugarbeet acreage, up from 66% last week. Both the five year average and last year’s progress for this week is 83%.
Chet Leppek stands inside a pole barn he built on his former farm in Huron County. (Rob Clark/Michigan Sugar)
Former Michigan Sugar Company grower, Chet Leppek, celebrated his 100th birthday on April 16. (Rob Clark/Michigan Sugar)
Celebrating a sweet century
RUTH - On March 3, 1960, a little more than one month before his 42nd birthday, Chester "Chet" Leppek received a letter from Russell S. Wait, a field manager for Michigan Sugar Company working out of Croswell.
"Dear Chet," the letter began. "I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating you on the delivery of the largest sugar beet at Port Hope under the 1959 Large Beet Contest.' In fact this was the largest beet delivered at the Croswell Plant."
Leppek's 22 ½-pound sugarbeet that year won him 100 pounds of sugar, but did not come with recognition at the company's annual meeting.
Change was in the air
"This is the last year the 'Large Beet Contest' will be held …" the letter continued. "The reason for this is that the company has found that beets of this size generally do not have as high a sugar content as the smaller beet. With this in mind, every effort is being made to grow a larger number of beets per acre."
To this day, that letter remains in Leppek's possession - a proud keepsake from his days on the farm and a reflection of the many changes he has been witness to over the past century, especially those pertaining to agriculture and technology.
The years fly by
Leppek was born April 16, 1918, in the small Huron County community of Parisville, near Ruth. He was schooled through the eighth grade in a one-room schoolhouse about a mile and a half from his home. Leppek Road, which runs into Parisville, is named for his uncle, Walter Leppek, who owned the hotel and bar in town and frequently put up visiting pheasant hunters for the night.
The son of Frank and Clara Leppek, he grew up on a farm along with his brother Ira, sister Vivian and half-brother Tyrus Mzyk. Frank Leppek was in the threshing business and lived to be 92 years old. Clara Leppek lived to be 87 and Vivian, who lives in Ubly, is set to celebrate her 99th birthday in July.
To help put Leppek's life into perspective, the day of his birth is the same day the Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, executed Czar Nicholas II and his family in Yekaterinburg, Russia, bringing an end to the three-century Romanov Dynasty.
Also on that date, the United States Congress passed the Sedition Act, a law that, according to history.com, "Imposed harsh penalties on anyone found guilty of making false statements that interfered with the prosecution of the war; insulting or abusing the U.S. government, the flag, the Constitution or the military; agitating against the production of necessary war materials; or advocating, teaching or defending any of these acts."
The act was repealed by Congress in 1921.
Sugarbeets paid the bills
After spending his youth working on his family farm, Leppek married Martha Grifka, a farm girl from Michigan's Thumb, in 1940 at St. John's Church in Ubly. They had met as teenagers at a local dance hall, an activity they continued for years to come. The Hungry Four band from Bay City played at their wedding.
The couple had four children - Nancy, born in 1941; Tom in 1944; Carol in 1946; and Doug in 1950. The family grew over the years to include four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Martha died on Oct. 15, 2016, at age 98, just 11 days before the couple would celebrate its 76th wedding anniversary.
In 1947, the Leppeks started their own farm in Sigel Township near Parisville. They grew hay, wheat, oats, navy beans and corn and had some livestock as well. Chet affectionately gives much of the credit for the farm's success over the years to his wife.
"She was half the farm," he said.
In 1952, Leppek began growing sugarbeets for Michigan Sugar Company and he later served on the Grower Board from 1964 to 1984, stepping down shortly after selling his farm to the Maurer family.
As a kid, Leppek had used a horse and plow on the family farm. When he started on his own, he said he used a one-row McCormick beet harvesting machine.
"If I dug 50 tons per day that was a good day," he said. "Now, they do that in 15 minutes."
At the height of his operation, Leppek grew 40 acres of sugarbeets on his 300-acre farm. He said he averaged about 10 to 20 tons per acre.
"Sugarbeets paid the bills," he said. "The rest of the crops took care of all the other stuff."
Highlights of Leppek's life of farming dot his memory to this day:
Like a period of time in the 1960s when Michigan Sugar Company tried to drum up additional interest in growing sugarbeets out in the Thumb.
"We needed to keep the Croswell plant open," Leppek recalled.
And the 1980 growing season.
"It was a year of tremendous rains," he said. "We had lots of water in the fields. We left some beets in the ground that year."
Through it all, Leppek said he really enjoyed farming.
"It was hard … a lot of work," he said. "There were good and bad years, but overall it was very rewarding."
Celebrating a century
Leppek has lived through the Roaring '20s, the Great Depression, World War II, the birth of rock and roll, the Civil Rights Movement, and the dawn of the age of technology.
What's the secret to a long life?
"You'll have your ups and downs," he says. "There's no secret but to keep active … and three meals per day."
Small and large gatherings were planned to celebrate Leppek's 100th birthday.
He celebrated with his closest family and friends on April 14. The "big party" is planned for June 23, at the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1546 Hall in Bad Axe, where Leppek is an honorary member.
"Everybody's invited," joked Debbie Leppek, Chet's daughter-in-law.
He'll probably play some cards - euchre is his favorite game - and he'll likely remain as active as possible at St. Isidore Parish in Ruth, where he is an honorary member of the Usher's Club.
But there's one other activity on his to-do list that might surprise you.
"I started golfing at age 65 and the game really got into me," Leppek said as a little sparkle enters his eyes. "If the good Lord lets me, I'll get out there again this season."
Sugar Beet News |
via Huron Daily Tribune https://ift.tt/2H8gLqw
April 30, 2018 at 02:55PM
2018 sugarbeet planting remains behind schedule for most of the country.
The USDA released the Crop Progress Report for the week of April 16th. In the report, planting progress data for the country’s top four sugarbeet producing states were listed.
Idaho made significant progress from last week, having 47% of their crop in the ground compared to just eight percent the week before. Last year at this point, Idaho had 43% of their beets planted. The five year average is 51%.
Michigan has one percent of their beets planted. That is unchanged from last week. Their five year average for the third week of April is four percent.
Both Minnesota and North Dakota have yet to put any beets in the ground. Last year, Minnesota had 16% of their planting completed, just two percentage points shy of the five year average. North Dakota had 10% planted, which is also two percentage points behind their five year average.
Snow and below average temperatures continue to keep most Michigan farmers out of fields. The USDA says only 1.5 days were suitable for field work last week.
Rob Clark with the Michigan Sugar Company tells Brownfield about 6,000 acres of sugarbeets have been planted. “Out in the Thumb, which is our largest growing area, our growers have reported continued frozen ground conditions and Mother Nature has certainly not helped a lot the past week. It’s been very cold and we got some snow.” He says this year growers expect to plant about 157,000 acres of sugarbeets with a majority of planting expected to pick up this week and next.
The winter wheat cropped declined two percent to 63 percent good to excellent. The USDA says 96 percent of topsoil and 95 percent of subsoil have adequate to surplus moisture levels.
Michigan’s fruit crop remains mostly dormant with some damage reported in the Southwest to peaches and wine grapes.
https://ift.tt/2GQUQ7U Sugar Beet News |
via Brownfield Ag News https://ift.tt/2bgPPoQ
April 11, 2018 at 09:09AM
A spokesperson for the Michigan Sugar Company reports sugar content remained high during the 2017 season despite challenging growing conditions.
Rob Clark tells Brownfield the co-op harvested 7,000 fewer acres which was tied to marketing decisions and Mother Nature. “Mother Nature gave us a lot of rain and then no rain. In the end it impacted the total tonnage for us in a negative way.”
He says while production declined more than 20 percent from the year before, the company was able to keep pace with the previous year’s sugar production because of high quality beets. This year Michigan Sugar has increased planted acres to 2016 levels.
Clark says processing investments will also help keep pace with increasing production. “Last year we invested more than $20 million dollars into our four facilities in Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing and this year is no expectation. We’re planning to invest another $17.1 million.” He says the co-op has some of the oldest beet factories in the nation and it’s important to invest in their upkeep.
https://ift.tt/2GQUWwi Sugar Beet News |
via Brownfield Ag News https://ift.tt/2bgPPoQ
April 11, 2018 at 08:43AM
Published 7:50 am, Thursday, April 5, 2018
UPPER THUMB -- Hundreds of local workers have finished the round-the-clock process of slicing sugarbeets, and Michigan Sugar Co. recently announced the final results of its 2017-18 campaign.
While quantity of the harvest decreased by more than a million tons compared to the last season, quality increased.
As a result, the region produced an equal amount of salable sugar this year and last year, according to company officials.
"While our tonnage was down this year, it was encouraging to see a rebound in our sugar content," stated Jim Ruhlman, executive vice president for Michigan Sugar Co., in a press release. "The increase in quality coupled with a lower shrink allowed us to produce as much salable sugar this year as last year."
The slicing campaign started Aug. 21, 2017, and concluded Feb. 28.
"The 2017-18 campaign was a mixture of extremes, from record heat in September to hard frosts in October and November, to weeks permanently below freezing through the winter," said David Noble, vice president of operations for Michigan Sugar Co.
Key results of the campaign include:
• Fewer sugarbeets were harvested by the company's roughly 1,000 grower-owners. This past year, 150,662 acres of sugarbeets were harvested, which was down about 7,000 acres from 2016. This is partially due to the fact that in 2017, growers were allowed to plant only 92 percent of their acres, down from 96 percent in 2016. Widely variable weather at the start of the 2017 growing season, including some areas that flooded post-planting, also was a contributing factor.
• 3.85 million tons of sugarbeets, or 25.56 tons per acre, were harvested. This was down from 4.88 million tons, or 31.03 tons per acre, in 2016.
"We saw a significant drop in 2017 in terms of the amount of sugarbeet production, partly due to excessive early season rainfall last spring followed by a very dry summer," stated Corey Guza, director of agronomy for Michigan Sugar Co., in a press release. "At the same time, there was an improvement in sugarbeet quality, and we're hoping to see better weather combine with this higher sugar content to result in a strong sugarbeet campaign in the year ahead."
Rob Clark, director of communications and community relations at Michigan Sugar Co., told the Tribune on Wednesday that Huron County is the company's No. 1 producer of sugarbeets, with 360 shareholders who grow more than 54,000 acres.
Sanilac County ranks second with 168 shareholders who produce 26,700 acres. Tuscola County ranks fourth with 130 shareholders growing 20,000 acres of sugarbeets.
Quality rebounded during the 2017-18 campaign with more typical sugar content and shrink less than half what it was during the 2016-17 campaign.
• Shrink - a decrease in the weight of beets over time due to crop respiration, weather and storage conditions - dropped to 5.28 percent from a 2016 level of 11.3 percent.
• Sugar content was 18.3 percent, up from 15.8 percent in 2016. Addressing low sugar content during the 2016 season was a major focus for Michigan Sugar's agronomy and research efforts.
More than $20 million in new upgrades were put to use for the first time this year, which includes:
• Individual investment projects that played a role in the recently completed campaign ranged in size from $85,000 to $4.42 million and covered many needs - including building improvements, employee safety measures, environmental protection and technology upgrades to boost efficiency.
• $12.5 million was dedicated to upgrading the Croswell factory capacity. This was the second year of a five-year plan to add 50 percent to the daily factory capacity and increase efficiency.
"Looking forward to the coming summer, a further $17.1 million of new capital will be invested at the four factories," stated Noble. "Of that, $12.2 million will represent the third year of Croswell's upgrade featuring new juice storage tanks, beet slicers and juice filtration equipment."
"The balance of the capital will be spent at the other locations on further infrastructure needs and process enhancements, ensuring the relationship with the Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing communities continues strong into the future," Noble added.
The company has 1,300 seasonal employees, and 750 year-round employees, Clark said.
At the season's peak in November, the Sebewaing plant employed a total of 388 workers; Caro employed 277 people; Croswell: 337; and Bay City: 868.
Company officials said farmers plan to plant an estimated 157,000 acres this year for harvesting in the fall. Several growers took advantage of favorable weather and ground conditions a couple weeks ago to begin planting, with the first seeds going into the ground on March 19.
Sugar Beet News |
via Huron Daily Tribune https://ift.tt/2H8gLqw
April 9, 2018 at 09:25AM
By Isis Simpson-Mersha | firstname.lastname@example.org
BAY CITY, MI -- Dave Rupprecht, co-owner of Zwerks and Sons Farms in Vassar, felt the impact Mother Nature had on his sugar beet crop this year.
Extreme flooding followed by a period of dry weather cut his crop by as many as 4 tons per acre.
"The last two years have been probably below average from what we would normally expect from yield and for sugar percentage," Rupprecht said. "Certainly we're looking for a better year this year."
Michigan Sugar's beet slicing campaign ran from August 2017 through February 2018. This past year, 150,662 acres of sugar beets were harvested by Michigan Sugar's, down 7,000 acres from 2016.
3.85 million tons of sugarbeets, or 25.56 tons per acre, were harvested. This was down from 4.88 million tons, or 31.03 tons per acre, in 2016.
While the number of beets harvested was down, sugar content pulled from those beets was up, Michigan Sugar officials said.
Part of the reason for the crop decline was that growers only planted on 92 percent of their acres this season, down from 96 percent a year ago. Michigan Sugar officials said the decision to cut back on planting was done in an effort to make sure the processing campaign doesn't extend too long into the year and potentially force the company to throw out beets in a pile that go bad.
"The decision was made to scale back a bit for the 2017-18 campaign in an effort to hit that sweet spot," said Rob Clark, spokesman for Michigan Sugar. "Of course, you can never predict what Mother Nature will bring and, unfortunately, she impacted our final numbers last year in terms of quantity."
But it was the major flooding and a subsequent drought this past summer that had the biggest impact on the campaign.
This past June, Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for Bay, Gladwin, Midland and Isabella counties. More than six inches of rain pounded Mid-Michigan over a couple of days, causing historic flooding that wiped out roads, drowned fields and destroyed homes.
The later months of summer didn't see much rain for several weeks.
While sugar beet production was down, sugar content came in at 18.3 percent -- up 15.85 percent from a year ago.
"While our tonnage was down this year, it was encouraging to see a rebound in our sugar content," said Jim Ruhlman, Executive Vice President for Michigan Sugar Company. "The increase in quality coupled with a lower shrink allowed us to produce as much salable sugar this year as last year."
Clark, with Michigan Sugar, said the lower yield wouldn't have much impact on the price of sugar in grocery stores.
Farmers might be getting their seeds in the ground later than normal for this year's season due to unseasonably cold temperatures. Snow is in the forecast this week for most of Northern Michigan, but Mid-Michigan could see an inch or two, according to MLive Chief Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.
"We're going to be a little bit later planting this year on most of our acres," said Rupprecht, who had about 10 percent of his crop planted before Easter.
He hopes to get back out into the fields next week to finish planting. He said on average the farm tries to produce 35 tons for the acre and 19 percent sugar.
Sugar Beet News |
via MLive.com http://www.mlive.com
April 2, 2018 at 12:37PM
By Isis Simpson-Mersha (Mlive.com) | email@example.com
CARROLLTON TWP, MI -- A partnership between Westway Feed Products and Michigan Sugar Co. plans to spark new economic activity in Carrollton Township and Saginaw County.
Michigan Sugar, an agricultural cooperative based in Bay City and Westway Feed Products, a global supplier of agricultural-based liquid solution from Tomball, Texas, held a snow-breaking ceremony for a new 3,700-square- foot liquid feed plant in Carrollton Township on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Local business and economic development leaders gathered around the business partners clad in hard hats as they took shovels to snow in a symbolic gesture to break ground.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development provided a grant to help fund construction of the $1 million plant. Saginaw Future helped to apply for the grant.
The facility will be operated by Westway and serve dairy and beef cattle farms in the Thumb region. Michigan Sugar will supply molasses as a key ingredient in the liquid feed products.
"This development is particularly important as it is a partnership with Michigan Sugar, which has been an outstanding corporate citizen and neighbor for many years," said JoAnn Crary, president and CEO of Saginaw Future. "It will also spark additional investment at a site that is very important to this community and to Saginaw County."
Greg McLean, director of strategic development for Westway Feed Products said the molasses helps cattle to digest their food more fully.
"The products that we make here at liquid feed plants contain - especially with the beet molasses - high levels of sugar still left in the molasses after they process it," McLean said. "So those high levels of sugar provide a energy for the animals to be able more fully digest their roughage and their other feed."
The new facility will employ four people, plus a salesperson and technical support.
"The exciting new partnership announced today will spark new economic activity in Carrollton Township and Saginaw County, while providing another new market for Michigan Sugar's sugar beet farmers and further adding to our cooperative's strong regional footprint," said Mark Flegenheimer, president and CEO of Michigan Sugar. "We're proud to work alongside Westway Feed Products and all of the public and private partners that came together to make this new project possible."
The facility will be built by Pumford Construction Co. of Saginaw. The company plans to begin construction on Monday, Feb. 12, and complete it by this fall.
Scott Johnson, project manager for Pumford Construction, said the plant construction will draw more than $1 million in initial capital investment to the region.
"Michigan Sugar Company continues to be a pillar of our community, and we appreciate their efforts to create additional investment and jobs in Carrollton Township," said Carrollton Township Manager Phillip Abney. "We welcome Westway Feed Products to our community, and thank them for their hard work to forge new partnerships in Michigan and bring their business to our state."