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Published September 04, 2010, 07:42 AM

Beet co-ops may see record yields

FARGO (AP) — Sugar beet cooperatives in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota are anticipating record yields, meaning farmers might not be allowed to harvest all of their acres.

FARGO (AP) — Sugar beet cooperatives in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota are anticipating record yields, meaning farmers might not be allowed to harvest all of their acres.

The Grand Forks Herald reported that American Crystal Sugar Co. yields are averaging 20 tons per acre, and yields for Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative are running in the mid-20s — high numbers for this early in the harvest.

“Those are numbers we’ve never seen on Sept. 1,” said Tom Knudsen, Minn-Dak’s vice president of agriculture.

Factories can process only so many beets before they spoil, so sometimes a portion of the crop is plowed under to match the harvest with the processing capacity.

“Quite honestly, it’s not a position the company likes to put the (farmer) shareholders in, and it’s not a position the shareholders like to be in,” Crystal spokesman Jeff Schweitzer said.

He said Crystal will decide whether all of the planted acres will be harvested after the harvest is fully under way, sometime in October. Knudsen said that co-op’s growers were cautioned early that cutbacks might be necessary.

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