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Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op 2022 production slightly below average

Yields are estimated at 26.5 tons per acre.

Sugar beets roots in a field with green leaves.
Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op's crop averaged 26.4 tons per acre in 2022.
Ann Bailey / Agweek
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Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op will harvest a total of 2.9 million tons of sugarbeets in 2022, the co-op estimates.

That’s slightly below average, said Todd Geselius,Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op vice president of agriculture.

“It’s a decent but not a huge crop,” Geslius said.

The cooperative’s 2022 harvest was nearing the finish line in late October.

Slightly less than 95% of the crop had been harvested as of Oct. 25, Geselius said.

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Overall, the harvest went smoothly, though there were a few shutdowns during the 2022 campaign.

Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op, like other sugarbeet cooperatives in Minnesota and North Dakota, had to shut down the third week in October when temperatures dropped to as low as 11 degrees, then over the weekend, the mercury climbed to near 80 degrees so the harvest was shut down because of heat, Geselius said.

“Up until the cold weather, it probably was one of the better harvests for a while. We really went pretty rapidly, except for stopping for the cold," he said.

Yields were estimated at 26.5 tons per acre in late October.

“From a tons standpoint, that’s a little below average. We would call 30 tons an average crop,” Geselius said.

Sugar content of the 2022 crop, however, which was estimated at 17.4%, is higher than average. The long-term average sugar content is about 1% lower than that.

Last year farmers who grow sugarbeets for Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Co-op harvested a record 36.5 tons per acre, which was 6.2 tons per acre more than the previous record of 30.3 tons set in 2017.

Farmers who grow sugarbeets for the company planted 121,385 acres of sugarbeets in 2021 but had to leave about 20% of those in the field. Farmers harvested about 97,000 acres of sugarbeets, which was the amount of production that the factory can effectively process.

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Farmers planted 110,000 acres of sugarbeets in 2022, Geslius said.

All in all, this year's crop turned out better than expected, considering the delayed planting season.

“I think we’re pretty pleasantly surprised with the crop, for sure,” he said. “Nobody thought we would end up with reasonable tonnage and this good of sugar.”

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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