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American Crystal Sugar launches 2022 pre-pile harvest

Farmers who grow sugar beets for the company based in Moorhead, Minnesota, started harvesting on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

Sugar beets are being harvested with a red tractor pulling the machine.
Dexter Cronquist, Gilby, North Dakota, started harvesting sugarbeets for American Crystal Sugar Co.'s pre-pile harvest on Aug. 23, 2022.
Ann Bailey / Agweek
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American Crystal Sugar Co.’s 2022 sugarbeet pre-pile harvest got underway on schedule.

Farmers who grow sugar beets for the company based in Moorhead, Minnesota, started harvesting on Tuesday, Aug. 23. The pre-pile harvest at American Crystal Sugar Co.’s five factories, located in the Minnesota cities of East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead and the North Dakota cities of Hillsboro and Drayton, began at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

The company's factories are scheduled to begin processing sugarbeets on Aug. 25. During pre-pile harvest, farmers who grow sugarbeets for American Crystal Sugar typically harvest about 15% of the company’s total crop. About 2,800 farmers in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota are members of American Crystal Sugar.

Dexter Cronquist, a Gilby, North Dakota, farmer had harvested a small field of sugarbeets by 11 a.m. Aug. 23 and had moved to a 120 acre field. The sugarbeets, which were planted late because of cold, wet conditions this spring, were smaller than normal, but Cronquist was hopeful that the beets would grow before the stockpile harvest.

 A green tractor pulls a yellow sugar beet machine that cuts the tops of the plants.
A sugarbeet topper moves through Dexter Cronquist's field northeast of Gilby, North Dakota, on Aug. 23, 2022, the first day of American Crystal Sugar's pre-pile harvest.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

“We have pretty decent moisture right now so that should help them to grow before the main harvest," Cronquist said.

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This year, farmers who grow sugarbeets for American Crystal Sugar plan to harvest a total of 455,000 acres. Yields are estimated at about 25.5 tons per acre, but that number could increase depending on the weather conditions between now and the stockpile harvest, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

In 2021 unseasonably warm and wet conditions added an additional 11% to yields that originally were estimated to be 25.5 tons per acre.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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