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Early digging of Michigan Sugar Co. 2022 crop is underway

During the early dig, the company, based in Bay City, Michigan, will harvest about 25% of its total acreage of slightly less than 150,000 acres, said Elizabeth Taylor, Michigan Sugar Co. agricultural relations and communications manager.

A sugar beet lifter harvests the crop that is flowing into a cart pulled by a green tractor with tracks.
Mike Wark, of Wark Farms in Akron, Michigan, harvests sugarbeets on Aug. 28, 2022, the opening day of Michigan Sugar Co.'s 2022 harvest. Wark Farms is a third-generation operation that grows 800 acres of sugarbeets, as well as corn, soybeans and wheat.
Ann Bailey / Agweek
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BAY CITY, Mich. — Michigan Sugar Co. began its early dig of the 2022 harvest on Aug. 29.

During the early dig, the company, based in Bay City, Michigan, will harvest about 25% of its total acreage of slightly less than 150,000 acres, said Elizabeth Taylor, Michigan Sugar agricultural relations and communications manager. Last year, farmers who grow sugarbeets for the cooperative harvested a total of 160,000 acres.

About 900 farmers from 20 Michigan counties and the province of Ontario, Canada, grow sugarbeets for Michigan Sugar Co. The company annually produces about 1.2 billion pounds of sugar.

The company estimates that sugarbeets from the early dig will yield an average of 25 tons per acre. Per acre yields are expected to increase to 31 tons per acre by the main harvest, which is slated to begin in mid-to late October, Taylor said.

A green tractor pulls a sugarbeet lifter beside a white truck that is hauling the sugarbeets that are being dumped into the truck.
Tim Hecht, in the tractor pulling the sugarbeet harvester, and his son, Jeremy Hecht, driving the truck, harvest beets from a field in Saginaw County, Michigan, on Aug. 28, 2022 , the opening day of Michigan Sugar Co.s ’s 2022 harvest. Hecht Farms is a fifth-generation operation that grows 110 acres of sugarbeets, as well as corn, soybeans and wheat.
Contributed / Michigan Sugar Co.

The sugarbeets will need adequate rain and warm temperatures this fall to increase in size and weight, Taylor said. After spring planting was delayed by wet conditions, the weather turned drier.

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”We were pretty dry throughout the summer, but through the last month we received adequate rain in the growing area,” she said on Aug. 30, 2022.

Michigan Sugar Co. began processing at one of its facilities on Aug. 30 and planned to begin processing at another within the next day.

Related Topics: SUGARBEETSAGRICULTURE
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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