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More sugarbeet seed going into the ground in Minnesota and North Dakota, but planting progress remains slow

Rain slowed sugarbeet planting in Minnesota and North Dakota.

A sugarbeet plant begins to emerge from the soil.
A sugarbeet emerges from the soil in the Snake River Sugarbeet Growers Association in mid-April 2022.
Contributed / Brad Griff
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Sugarbeet planting progress in Minnesota and North Dakota remained slow during the third week of May as wet conditions limited which fields farmers could seed.

In Minnesota, 8% of the state’s sugarbeets were planted as of the week ending May 15, 2022, 92% less than last year and 75% less than the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service said. North Dakota sugarbeet planting was 9% complete as of May 15, 89% less than last year and 75% less than the five-year average, the agency reported.

Farmers who grow sugarbeets for American Crystal Co., based in Moorhead, Minnesota, had planted about 19,000 acres of sugarbeets as of Tuesday, May 17, 2022, said Joe Hastings, the company’s general agronomist.

Total American Crystal Sugar Co. acreage this year is pegged at 460,000, Hastings said.

Farmers were making strides planting where they could, but some fields still were too wet to plant, Hastings said.

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“We just need some more days of sunshine and some wind,” Hastings said.

American Crystal Sugar Co. released 52,000 additional acres through its Targeted Acres Program. Farmers who sign up for TAP grow additional acres if the company determines it needs to increase them because of concerns that production could be reduced.

The program, which American Crystal Sugar Co, implemented several years ago, was not used last year; but in 2020, the company released 15,000 acres through TAP.

Farther south, rain also had muddied the fields of farmers who grow sugarbeets for Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op in Wahpeton, North Dakota, delaying planting.

About 5,000 of the company's acres were in the ground as of May 17, said Mike Metzger, Minn-Dak Farmers Co-op vice president of agriculture.

“It’s generally pretty wet across the area” Metzger said. "We have a lot of growers who can’t turn a wheel, yet,”

Farmers who grow sugarbeets for Minn-Dak were given the option of growing more acres this year through a program called “extra acres incentive.”

Minn-Dak earlier this year anticipated acreage would be 101,000, and the board authorized additional acreage up to 115,000 because of the late growing season.

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The additional acres are voluntary so the co-op doesn’t yet have an estimate of what the company's final planted acres will be, Metzger said.

In southern Minnesota, most farmers who grow sugarbeets for Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op were unable to plant the first few days of the week of May 15, said Todd Geselius, the company’s vice president of agriculture.

From 3- to 5-inches of rain fell during severe thunderstorms that hit the growing area of the Renville-based cooperative, late the previous week, he said. The water had drained off of most of the fields by Wednesday, May 18, 2022, and farmers were waiting for fields to dry.

Between 35 to 40% of the cooperative’s acreage had been planted as of May 17, Geselius said. Farmers who grow sugarbeets for SMBSC typically annually plant a total of about 120,000 acres.

SMBSC uses a system that allows additional acres to be planted based on various dates, and as of May 17, the tolerance was 90% to 120% of stock acres, Geselius said.

Related Topics: SUGARBEETSCROPSAGRICULTURE
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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