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Published November 18, 2013, 10:48 AM

Sweet finish

The Upper Great Plains beet campaign ends.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

harvest, and sugar production will be somewhat down because of lower yields and less sugar content than last year’s record-high levels.

Here’s a rundown from cooperatives where results are available:

• American Crystal Sugar Co., Moorhead, Minn. — 435,600 acres were harvested in 2013, compared with 437,000 acres in 2012. The co-op finishes at about 25.2 tons per acre and 17.33 percent sugar, compared with last year’s 27.1 tons and 19.1 percent sugar. On Nov. 13, the company had only one grower left to harvest — about 100 acres near Kindred, N.D.

• Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, Wahpeton, N.D. — 117,000 acres were harvested out of 119,000 planted, compared with 115,000 acres harvested in 2012. Yield was about 25.4 tons per acre, unofficially, compared with 26.7 tons last year. Sugar content in 2013 is 16.35 percent compared with 19.1 in 2012. The co-op officially finished harvest Nov. 12, says Tom Knudsen, vice president of agriculture.

Tares are remarkably low at 3 percent, which is “incredible for the rain we had in October and November,” Knudsen says, adding that what the farmers were able to accomplish is “mind-boggling.” He says past shareholder investments in new lifters and “scrub chain carts” have paid off. The processing campaign could take to late May or even early June. The campaign continued until May 31 last year.

• Sidney Sugars Inc., Sidney, Mont. — 31,100 acres compared with 33,000 in 2012. The American Crystal subsidiary finished harvest at the end of October. Tonnage was 27.6 tons per acre, compared with about 27 the past few years. Sugar content is 16.58 percent, which is way below the 17.9 percent average. Harvest started Oct. 1 and was 80 percent done in 10 days with less than 2 percent tares; the remaining 20 percent took 20 days. Processing campaign should run through mid- February.

• Western Sugar Cooperative, Denver, Colo. — The company hoped to harvest 113,000 acres in 2013, about an 8 percent decline from the previous year, one co-op source says.

Randall Jobman, agricultural manager for the north region in Billings, says tonnage will be about 31.3 tons per acre in the Billings area and 29.8 tons in the northern Wyoming area near Lovell. Sugar content is about 15 percent, down from 2012’s level of 17.5 percent. Hampered by October rainfall, the harvest was still going on Nov. 13, but 99 percent complete, with a few isolated areas remaining in Montana and Wyoming. The processing campaign will run to about mid-February as usual.

Wyoming Sugar LLC, Worland, Wyo. — 10,257 acres harvested, about the same as last year’s 10,000 acres. Myron Casdorph, of • Wyoming Sugar LLC, says the company harvested just more than 29 tons per acre, about the same as last year, but still a “pretty awesome crop” for the area.

“Before Roundup Ready, we were looking for 21- to 22-ton crops,” he says. Sugar content is about 15 percent, down about 2.5 percent from last year. Casdorph says the company doesn’t know exactly why there has been a drop in sugar content, but says it could be because of a May 1 planting date — a month later than normal. Rain in early October made for a miserable harvest.

• Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative, Renville, Minn. — Company officials didn’t immediately return calls from Agweek.

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