Beet Harvest Approaches record levels
Burley -- Idaho sugar beet growers are reporting near record yields with excellent sugar levels thanks to a dry harvest.
“These beets are normal sized but we’re getting more per acre and that increases yields and we’re having an awesome year,” said Jeff Schow of Amalgamated Sugar Company of Paul.
Schow says sugars are high. “When you have dry harvest conditions you tend to have better sugar because when the beets are moist they got more water in them which loses the concentration of sugar.”
The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service increased its August forecast of Idaho's yield on Sept. 12 from 34.7 tons per acre to 35.4 tons, which would be 1.1 tons above 2011. Idaho's sugar beet production is forecast at 6.44 million tons, up 2 percent from the August forecast and up 6 percent from 2011. Idaho's 182,000 harvested acres will be up 6,000 acres from last year.
U.S. yield, forecast at 29.3 tons per acre, up 5.5 tons from 2011, would also set a record if realized. U.S. sugar beet production for this season is forecast at 35.6 million tons, up 23 percent from last year.
Grower Cloy Jones says it's been a great year so far. "The beets look good, the sugar looks as good as its ever been. Whether it pans out that way, it's looking good.”
Schow says the market has softened this year. "Last the growers received right around $60 to $65 dollars a ton and we’re thinking its going to be right around 55 dollars per ton this year. It’s has softened but on an average 55 dollars per ton is still pretty good.”