By Duane Peters SIDNEY, Mont. – 2017 started off with drier than expected soil moisture. As growers started to plant, we all realized that most fields would need to be irrigated to provide moisture to have equal emergence. We were very thankful for our irrigation project. Irrigation water was available and many growers irrigated. The crop had very uneven emergence due to field dryness. As spring turned to summer, the irrigation became very important. We had a drier than normal year. Rainstorms were far and few between. We were three inches below normal for the months of June, July, and August. Disease levels were very minimal due to dry weather conditions. Sidney Sugars started an early harvest this year, and that went very well. Harvest started around September 12th. Full harvest started on October 1st. We completed harvest on October 26th. Yield was 31.25 ton per acre and sugar was 17.99%. Overall, we considered this a very successful growing year. Beets appear to be storing well for the above normal winter temps. We expect slice to finish about mid-February.