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2016 further cements its record-breaking status as sugar beet processing continues
Projected U.S. sugar production for 2016/17 is 9.313 million STRV, a 29,000-STRV decrease from the previous month’s projection. The current projection would be a fiscal year production record if realized.
Beet sugar production is projected to total 5.371 million STRV, unchanged from the previous month. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) updated sugarbeet production in the January Crop Production Summary 2016 to 36.881 million short tons, an increase of 268,000 tons based primarily on higher yields than previously estimated.
The 2016/17 sugarbeet production is record-large, surpassing the previous year’s record level of 35.359 million short tons. The shrink rate for 2016/17—or the amount of harvested beets not sliced due to weight loss or spoilage during the sugarbeet storage processis currently projected to be 5.8 percent, in line with longer-run averages. After a warm November in several sugarbeet producing regions, a cold snap in December was well-timed for storing beets in non-ventilated piles.
There was a brief period during late December in the Red River Valley where temperatures rose above freezing. Initial reports from the region indicate that it is too early to see if that had an impact on the conditions of the stored beets. Weather during the upcoming winter months will continue to be an important factor influencing the amount and quality of the beets being sliced for the current campaign.
The higher estimate for sugarbeet production and increased slice is offset by a projected reduction in sugar extracted from sliced sugarbeets. Although data has only been reported through November for 2016/17, sugar production from this crop has been low relative to the amount of beets that have been sliced. Earlyseason sliced sugarbeet sucrose extraction rates are often lower than the ultimate season average and can be more variable than beets sliced during the subsequent months.
Through November, extraction rates have been significantly lower than the previous year and the 10-year average rates. As the year progresses, however, cumulative extraction rates fall into a much narrower range. Industry reports indicate that the sugarbeet crop’s sugar content is not as high as the previous year’s crop, although reports also do not currently substantiate an extraction rate at or near the historical lows. Additional months of reporting are needed before a clear trajectory of the extraction rate can be confirmed. The current beet sugar projection includes an extraction rate of 14.68 percent, below the 10-year average of 14.81 percent, but higher than the 14.57 percent recorded for the previous year’s crop.