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Published November 16, 2012, 05:13 PM

American Crystal says beet harvest yields record sugar content

American Crystal Sugar and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in Wahpeton, N.D., report that beets processed so far are producing 19.1 percent sugar content.

By: Helmut Schmidt , Forum Communications

MOORHEAD, Minn. — It’s been a sweet harvest for sugar beet growers up and down the Red River Valley.

American Crystal Sugar and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in Wahpeton, N.D., report that beets processed so far are producing 19.1 percent sugar content.

That’s the highest sugar content ever recorded by American Crystal, spokesman Jeff Schweitzer says.

The typical sugar content is 17.5 to 18 percent, he says.

“We’re very pleased. The results are very good for American Crystal.”

Schweitzer says 422,000 acres of beets have been harvested, but 12,000 more acres in the Drayton, N.D., district must still be lifted.

“We’re very pleased with the yield and quality of the crop,” which is averaging 27 tons per acre, he says.

Minn-Dak has harvested more than 3 million tons of beets from 114,513 acres, or about 26.7 tons per acre, says communications manager Chris DeVries.

“Overall, it was a good crop,” he says.

Schweitzer says the yield per ton is also one of the highest recorded by Crystal Sugar.

Crystal is forecasting an average gross payment of about $65 a ton to its members, Schweitzer says.

Two years ago, Crystal paid $73 a ton, he says, and the 2011 crop average was $58.67 per ton.

The forecasted payment per ton to Minn-Dak members was not immediately available.

Schweitzer says the piled beets appear to be in good condition for long-term storage.

He says processing will be continuous through mid- to late May.

“Steady as it goes right now,” Schweitzer says.

Schweitzer adds it has been a good growing season, despite some hot, dry conditions. Ninety-five percent of the crop was planted before May 1, giving it time to establish.

Editor’s Note: This article is from Forum Communications, which owns Agweek.

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