On Tuesday morning, Duane Peters and Vanessa Pooch of Sidney Sugars gave their presentation on the current climate of the sugarbeet industry in our area at the USDA-EARC’s annual field day event.
With the previous year so dry, and this spring and summer so moisture-rich, the beet farmers of Sidney and the surrounding communities have faced issues with seeding, replanting and flooding.
Peters said that 33,000 acres of sugar beets have been planted this year, with 800 acres requiring replants and 400 lost this season to flooding. When Sidney Sugars performed its beet checks on July 7, staff found this year’s projected sugar yield to be comparable to 2 years ago, when they had an especially memorable crop. One of the best to date, in fact.
He says the factory plans to start processing on Sept. 11, and being finished by Feb. 20, 2019.
Current factory repairs are going well, and they are looking forward to another successful harvest.
Mountains of lime lay behind Sidney Sugars, a by-product of the sugar production process. Pooch addressed these mountains. Lime can be very beneficial to soil used in farming as an inexpensive source of magnesium and calcium. It improves the microbial activity, overall nutrient availability, and physical condition of soil. It also enhances the symbiotic nitrogen fixation by legumes, as in pulse crops such as beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils. This is especially important as these crops grow in popularity in our area. Their ability to restore nitrogen naturally to soil, when they are used in rotation with sugarbeets and other crops, offers a natural alternative to synthetic fertilizers.
Pooch encouraged farmers to try the spent lime, free of cost. She can be contacted at Sidney Sugars, Inc. during operating hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A truck will be needed to transport the lime, but they will load the product for you. Pooch recommended that farmers try the lime on a portion of the chosen field first. Should they see a marked improvement in soil and crop quality, then the entire field should improve from the application of lime.