Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative half done with harvest

Sugarbeet harvest progress lags not just in North Dakota and Minnesota but in several other sugarbeet producing states.

Trucks deliver sugar beets to the American Crystal factory at Drayton, N.D., Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

As cold weather moves into North Dakota and Minnesota, sugarbeet harvest continues far behind average in the two states, which lead the nation in sugarbeet production.

Minnesota growers, for the week ending Oct. 17, had harvested 38% of sugarbeets, compared to 96% last year and 69% on average, the weekly crop progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service said.

However, one area of the state was moving a little faster. Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative reported on Monday, Oct. 18, having reached the 50% mark.

"It was a beautiful fall weekend and SMBSC is 50% complete with sugarbeet harvest...cause for excitement!" a post on the SMBSC Facebook page said.


Statewide, sugarbeet conditions are 4% poor, 22% fair, 55% good and 19% excellent.

In neighboring North Dakota, sugarbeet conditions were 1% very poor, 5% poor, 27% fair, 50% good and 17% excellent. Sugarbeet harvest was listed in the crop progress report as 31%, "well behind" both last year's 96% and the 74% average pace.

The National Weather Service lists potential low temperatures throughout the Red River Valley in the mid 20s. Sugarbeet growers in the region already have dealt with too warm temperatures and wet field conditions , both of which have delayed harvest.

Crop progress reports in a few other sugarbeet growing states also reported mostly near or below average harvest progress.

In Idaho, 50% were harvested, compared to 55% last year and 47% on average.

In Michigan, where conditions were 3% very poor, 8% poor, 16% fair, 51% good and 22% excellent, growers had harvested 44% of beets, compared to 46% last year and 34% on average.

Oregon's progress, 42%, was just a bit below the 44% completed last year on the same date and the five-year average. Beet condition there was listed as 10% fair, 80% good and 10% excellent.

In Montana, sugarbeet harvest was at 35%, ahead of the previous year's 34%, but behind the five-year average of 37%. Sugarbeets in Montana were considered 10% very poor, 14% poor, 42% fair, 32% good and 2% excellent.


Sugarbeet harvest was 52% completed in Wyoming, compared to 64% last year and 51% on average.

Jenny Schlecht is the director of ag content for Agweek and serves as editor of Agweek, Sugarbeet Grower and BeanGrower. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.
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