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Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op 2022 production lower than last year, but sugar content is higher

A combination of a wet, cold spring that delayed planting and dry conditions during the growing season resulted in yields that were about what the cooperative had expected, but lower than it had hoped for. Sugar content is estimated at 19%, just shy of the record content of 19.2% set in 2012.

A green tractor pulls a sugarbeet topper through a sugarbeet field.
Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op produced 2.4 million tons of sugarbeets in 2022.
Contributed / Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op
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Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op farmers harvested a 2.4 million tons crop in 2022, according to preliminary estimates.

The cooperative’s harvest was nearly wrapped up by late October, with an estimated 20,000 tons still in the field on Oct. 25, said Mike Metzger, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative vice president of agriculture and research. The 2022 crop averaged 22.5 tons per acre, the cooperative estimated.

This year’s harvest was one of extremes, Metzger said. During a two-week period in October, temperatures were as warm as 75 degrees and as cold as the single digits.

“We had to shut down for heat, and we had to shut down for frost and everything in between,” he said.

A combination of a wet, cold spring that delayed planting and dry conditions during the growing season resulted in yields that were about what the cooperative had expected, but lower than it had hoped for.

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“One 3-inch rain and we would have been leaving beets in the field,” Metgzer said. “In August, they were poised and ready to go, and we just didn’t get the rain to finish them.”

In 2021, warm temperatures and late-season rain combined to boost production to 3 million, which is the amount of production that the cooperative strives to achieve each year. Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op average 2021 yields were about 30 tons per acre.

Farmers who grow sugarbeets for the cooperative, based in Wahpeton, North Dakota, planted slightly more than 105,000 acres in 2022.

While 2022 production and average yields were lower than optimal, the sugar content, which is estimated at 19% was excellent and just shy of the record content of 19.2% set in 2012. That year, there was no pre-pile harvest to reduce the average. The sugar content of the crop typically increases as the crop matures later in the season.

This year the early pre-pile sugar content was much lower than the later full harvest, so a 19% average, overall, is outstanding, Metzger said.

"We’re incredibly pleased where this finished up as far as the quality,” he said.

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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