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By Troy Krause
The final results for the region’s sugar beet crop have not yet been determined, but those who have seen the numbers are looking at this year’s yield with a smile.
“Farmers had a good year,” said Todd Geselius, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (SMBSC) vice-president of agriculture. “It may even be a record.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the average sugar beet yield in 2016 across the state was 30 tons per acre. Estimates for 2017 show at least a half-ton increase over that.
In addition, the sugar beets that have been processed are showing a good sugar content. The average sugar content is in the 16.3 percent range, but this year the beets coming in are higher than that.
So, with a good crop in from the fields, it makes sense for those who are processing those beets into sugar to ensure they are still in good condition when they travel from the sites where they have been piled to the plant.
Unlike corn or beans that go to the elevator and are shielded from the elements, sugar beets are hauled from the field to a number of SMBSC sites throughout the region. Those sugar beets are then piled and await further transport.
In the past, those piles were at the mercy of the elements. When the pile got too hot, there was spoilage. If they froze and then thawed there was spoilage.
The key for those working with the harvested sugar beets was finding a way to maintain a consistent climate for them as they sat.
Prior to the 2016 harvest, officials at SMBSC began working on a plan that would address that issue, and as a result it installed a system that when in use keeps the pile of sugar beets frozen.
Along the sides of the pile located a few miles west of Redwood Falls one will notice this system. Geselius said the technology works to keep the sugar beets cold regardless of the external temperature through the use of fans and a series of tubes to push air throughout the pile maintaining that cold temperature.
“Cold beets store better,” said Geselius, adding while one can see the fan units the tubes are placed in culverts below the pile.
Geselius added the technology has been installed at other sites in the region as well, adding after one year of use they appear to be a good investment.
In previous years there was an assumed loss due to fluctuations in the temperature where the sugar beet piles were placed, but with this new technology those loss numbers are expected to drop dramatically.
“We think this is going to be a very useful piece of technology,” said Geselius.
The technology allows the cooperative to keep the beets in the piles for a longer period of time. Geselius said in the past the rule of thumb was that the beets in a pile could not be there beyond March 1. With this new technology they could remain piled up into May.
“After May it gets too warm,” said Geselius.
The technology has been placed permanently at the sites, because officials at SMBSC are confident they are going to make a positive impact on the final result – the amount of sugar being processed at the Renville County plant.
The SMBSC is 100 percent owned by shareholders, with approximately 500 shareholders /growers in involved. There are about 375 people employed full-time through the cooperative, with an added 475 seasonal employees brought on during the harvest season.
To learn more about SMBSC and the process of getting sugar from sugar beets, visit its Web site at www.smbsc.com.
Sugar Beet News |
via Redwood Falls Gazette | Posted Nov 26, 2017 at 12:01 AM | http://ift.tt/2z9Yi80
December 13, 2017 at 02:01PM
By Mike Spieker
FARGO, N.D. – American Crystal Sugar Company held its annual shareholders meeting December 7th in Fargo. Tom Astrup, the co-op’s president and CEO said the projected initial gross beet payment for the 2017 crop is $46 per ton.
That projected payment is higher than last year’s final payment of $42.45 per ton, mainly because the sugar content of the 2017 crop was higher than that of 2016.
The 2016 sugarbeet crop yielded a record average of 30.4 tons per acres, with an average sugar content of 17.02 percent, stated a release by American Crystal. Better than forecasted sugar prices and good operating results in 2016, including lower operating costs combined to raise the final payment over estimates made earlier in the year. The total shareholder payments for the 2016 crop reached $500 million.
While the 2017 crop didn’t quite reach last year’s record, shareholders still produced a solid 30.2 tons per acre. What may be more important, however, was the higher sugar content of this year’s crop, which came in at 18.11 percent.
So Far, So Good
Despite the warmer than average temperatures in the Red River Valley, Astrup says the sugarbeets are storing nicely. “So far, the weather has been almost ideal,” he said. “We’ve had cool weather in late October and November. Now we are receiving our first shot of winter, which has allowed us to turn on the fans to freeze those beets down.”
Red River Valley sugarbeet growers produced an overall tonnage record for American Crystal in 2017, coming in at 12 million tons grown on 400,000 acres. That mark broke the previous record set in 2006 at 11.91 million ton grown on 500,000 acres.
Astrup says he expects the processing campaign to run until the end of May at a few of American Crystal’s factories.
By Mike Spieker
FARGO, N.D. – American Crystal Sugar Company held their annual shareholders meeting Thursday at the Fargo Holiday Inn. Tom Astrup, president and CEO of American Crystal announced the expansion of the company’s Drayton, N.D factory.
The project is expected to increase the factory’s output by 30% and increase output five to seven percent companywide. American Crystal spent between $20 million and $25 million on the expansion during the summer of 2017. The estimated total of the four-year project is estimated to be around $100 million.
In 2017, American Crystal shareholders produced a record 12 million ton crop on just 400,000 acres – 100,000 less than 10 years ago. With the higher yields, American Crystal is looking to “take advantage of the yield increases” by increasing their processing capacity, says Astrup.
“It probably doesn’t mean there will be more acres of sugarbeets,” said Astrup on the expansion at the Drayton factory. “What is probably means is if yields continue to increase, acres won’t decline as much as they have in the past.”
Of the company’s five plants, Astrup explains why Drayton was selected for the expansion – “It’s economics,” he said. “We have more beets grown in the Drayton factory district than we can process there.” As a result, excess sugarbeets are trucked south to other factories for processing. The Drayton expansion will significantly reduce those freight costs.
Before the expansion, Drayton averaged a 6,900 ton/day capacity. When completed, the factory is expected to be operated at 9,000 ton/day.
The theme of American Crystal Sugar Company's 2017 annual meeting was "We Grow." This video was featured during the annual meeting last week in Fargo.
Younggren re-elected to third term as Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association President
Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op of Wahpeton, North Dakota held its annual meeting this week at the Fargo Holiday Inn.
FARGO, N.D. — Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative of Wahpeton, N.D., notched its 45th annual meeting at the Fargo Holiday Inn, celebrating another big crop and payments at profitable levels.
Kurt Wickstrom, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative president and CEO, announced $32.50 per ton as an initial payment, "which we hope is conservative," he said. That's "not a great number" but a "pretty significant improvement" over last year, which was bedeviled by processing difficulties.
The co-op's 2017 crop averaged 32.3 tons per harvested acre, compared to 2016 at 32.4 tons. The company reduced planted acres by 17 percent and growers still were asked to leave 5 percent of their beets in the field unharvested.
Growers harvested 30.6 tons per planted acre (with non-harvested acres taken out). The initial payment is designed to produce $1,000 per acre in profits, which should help carry the load when corn and soybean prices are low, he said.
"Quite honestly, they need it," Wickstrom said, noting that grower costs have increased over the years.
Shareholders delivered 2.91 million tons, which is at the outer edge, at 17 percent sugar content, versus 15.7 percent in 2016, and purity at 89.4 percent compared to 88 percent in 2016. The co-op expects to process beets "right until the end of May" in 2018.
"The improvement in sugar content and quality is likely due to the intensive cercospora leaf spot management by growers," he said. The delivered sugar increased 1.25 percentage points because of better disease control. Most growers sprayed four or five times or more.
This is the second year Minn-Dak has exported beet pulp pellets to China as a source for that country's growing dairy industry. Wickstrom discussed a "necessity" to find co-op efficiencies and at the grower level, "assuming soft market prices going forward."
Wickstrom said the co-op over the next several months will ask growers whether they'd accept a system that would incentivize them to produce higher recoverable sugar per ton.
"We can only process so many tons of beets," Wickstrom said. Growers can affect that in various ways, including nutrient management, variety selection and disease control.
Brent Davison of Tintah, Minn., stepped aside after serving 14 years on the board, including the past five as chairman. Davison's father, Earl, had served as the second board chairman at Minn-Dak, which was the first of the beet sugar companies established as a farmer-owned cooperative. Davison, 67, said his most important accomplishment was helping the board select a changeover in management to Wickstrom. He said he decided to step aside prior to reaching his 15-year maximum to make way for younger leaders.
Davison said a changeover in the processing staff bodes well for the future. "With new hires, a new culture, a kind of a new attitude, I think we're on our way to bigger and better things," he said. He said the domestic sugar producers continue to battle with the Sugar Users Association and must defend their political situation.
Wickstrom said the Washington outlook is "confused" on the North American Free Trade Agreement and the farm bill. He said the co-op failed in an effort to preserve a pass-through deduction in the congressional tax reform package. The lost Section 1999 DPAD (Domestic Producer Activities Deduction) for cooperatives to pass through to members will cost the average 500-acre beet co-op shareholder $15,000. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., sponsored a measure that failed in the Senate, and the DPAD also failed in the House version.
Wickstrom said June 6, 2017, amendments "appear to be working" to stem the tide of sugar imports illegally flowing from Mexico under NAFTA. The amendments went into effect in October 2017.
American Crystal Sugar Co. of Moorhead, Minn., holds its annual meeting in Fargo on Thursday, in conjunction with the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.
http://ift.tt/2BFPeGj Sugar Beet News |
via www.agweek.com http://www.agweek.com
December 6, 2017 at 03:17PM
By Mikkel Pates | Forum News Service
Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., on Nov. 30 introduced an amendment that would retain the "Domestic Production Activities Deduction" for agriculture. If the amendment gets added to the Senate bill and the bill passes, it would preserve lawmakers' ability to bring up the topic in reconciliation with the House.
The provision is called the Section 199 tax deduction. As co-ops like Minn-Dak pay their shareholders for their beets, the individual shareholders are allowed to deduct a portion of that from their income taxes.
Minn-Dak flows through $4 million to $7 million in deductions to its shareholder-growers. The impact for a 500-acre Minn-Dak grower is about $15,000, Wickstrom says. The issue will likely be a point of discussion at the co-op's Dec. 5 annual meeting in Fargo.
American Crystal Sugar Co., based in Moorhead, Minn., is working on the same issue. "Valley-wide, we estimate that the loss of Section 199 will result in an annual net tax increase for our shareholders of $9 (million) to $14 million just for American Crystal," says Kevin Price, American Crystal's vice president of government affairs.
That's an $11 million to $21 million annual hit for the Red River Valley in sugar beets alone. Other co-ops have a similar problem.
"Of course the timing couldn't be worse given the ag economy with depressed commodity prices. Our growers need all the tools that they have. This would be a fairly significant hit for them," Wickstrom says, adding, "Sometimes these bills move forward without an understanding as to what the impact is going to be for those involved."
He says individual cooperatives, as well as the National Council of Farm Cooperatives, are working to educate elected representatives.
$1B of $1.5T
Jon Doggett, executive vice president of the National Corn Growers Association, says the co-op deduction is one of the important issues within the tax bill. The NCGA is one of 160 groups who have signed a letter urging the House Ways and Means Committee not to take that provision out because it's important to the cooperatives.
"A lot of our members are co-op members," he says. "We're pushing on that one, but that's going to be a heavy, heavy lift because it costs money to put that back in."
Doggett thinks that's about $1 billion out of a reform package worth $1.5 trillion. He says the problem with these kinds of bills is that they solve one problem but create another problem for someone else.
"You can rob Peter to pay Paul, but sooner or later Peter is going to get pretty upset," he says.
Doggett, who spoke on a panel at the Northern Ag Expo in Fargo on Nov. 29, says agriculture needs to be wary of being cut as conservative members look to sequestration — across-the-board spending cuts — to offset the trillion-dollar tax cuts.
The NCGA sees pluses and minuses within the tax bill but is not taking a position on it.
"It's a marginal plus for most of our growers," he says, noting the organization doesn't take a position on the overall bill because there are different versions that can change quickly.
"When we get to a final, final bill, we may may take a look at it and make that decision," he says.
Other important pieces include how farmers can expense new and used farm equipment and how they use cash accounting and depreciation schedules.
Doggett thinks the tax bill and appropriations bill schedules will have a big influence in determining what's in a new farm bill and when it's passed. He thinks the earliest a farm bill will be addressed will be February or March, but it's likelier in the summer.
"There are even a few folks very quietly saying we could use another extension," he says.
Sugar Beet News |
via http://ift.tt/12zhJ5p http://ift.tt/2zM6KZc
December 4, 2017 at 04:40PM
By: Times Report
Student from Bottineau knew very little about sugar beets; now, she works with them every week
When Amanda Monson started working with Jason Brantner, a researcher at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center, she knew very little if anything about sugar beets. Now, she spends time learning about them every week.
The senior from Bottineau, N.D., is majoring in agronomy and her work at the Research Center came about after a tour during plant pathology class. “When Jason, who gave the tour, mentioned a possible opportunity for students to work there, I was interested immediately,” Monson says.
Now in her second year, she assists with running soil assays, counts seedlings and pulls any that are unhealthy for Brantner to examine under the microscope to determine what went wrong.
“Jason recognizes everything under the microscope so learning from him about diseases and soil treatments is really interesting to me,” Monson continues. “I can go to the store to buy sugar I may have helped bring to market through the work being done in the lab at the Research Center. That’s exciting.”
Last summer Monson interned for ProAgri, Inc., in Bottineau as a crop scout. She loved being outside, and as she describes it, “playing in the dirt.” Scouting fields of wheat, barley, sunflowers, and even chickpeas made for a summer filled with work Monson loved.
Her internship and working at the NWROC, along with her classes in agronomy have Monson headed in the right direction. “I thought growing up on a beef cattle farm, I would major in animal science, but I love soils and seeds and agronomy is the best fit for me,” she says.
That discovery doesn’t mean that cattle are out of the picture for Monson as she hopes to someday have cattle of her own. “I love calving time, and although agronomy is my chosen field, I still would like to be involved in raising cattle,” she explains. “It is a part of who I am.”
Soil morphology, the study of the characteristics and properties of the soil observable in various soil layers, has become a favorite for her. The class, which she is taking as an independent study with Associate Professor Kristie Walker, is especially interesting to Monson. She also finds classes with her advisor Rob Proulx engaging as well.
When it comes to her greatest influences in life, Monson answers without hesitation—my grandpa. “He has farmed his whole life and he has been an example to me and to my siblings. He works because he wants to and growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, and I hope some of his work ethic rubbed off on me,” she smiles.
Her grandfather is not only hard working but innovative. “My grandpa is the inventor of Brandjord Tarps, a track tarp designed for trucks,” Monson says. “He is a role model for me in his farming and in his ability to problem solve.”
Monson will head back to Bottineau after she graduates in May 2018. “I want to go back to my home and to my history,” she says. “It’s in my blood.”
Sugar Beet News |
via Crookston Times http://ift.tt/1eYEKib
November 29, 2017 at 11:13AM
Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers, Dylan Young, Josh Deal and Beth Deal create fun harvest video with drone footage.
View the video directly on the Ideal Farms' Facebook Page.