Harvest of the 2019 sugar beet crop will start 10 days later than a year ago, with the first beets scheduled for delivery to Western Sugar Cooperative’s Lovell Factory receiving station on …
Harvest of the 2019 sugar beet crop will start 10 days later than a year ago, with the first beets scheduled for delivery to Western Sugar Cooperative’s Lovell Factory receiving station on Saturday, Sept. 14.
In 2018, with a forecast for a bumper sugar beet crop, the early dig began Sept. 4. But after a cold weather start in the spring, beets have been playing catch-up all year.
“Simply said, our crop isn’t as far along as last year,” said Heart Mountain grower Ric Rodriguez, vice chairman of the Western Sugar Co-op board of directors. “We’ve been two to three weeks behind all through the growing season.”
Field sampling tests by Western Sugar confirm that the beet crop still has ground to make up. July sampling suggested an average yield in the district of 25.6 tons per acre. Growers in the district averaged over 29 tons to the acre a year ago. Sugar beet planted acreage is about the same as last year.
“You never know how September is going to treat you,” said Mark Bjornestad, senior agriculturist for Western Sugar. “Warm weather in September really helps to make up some ground.”
Final sampling in July showed sugar content to be “average to above average” in this year’s crop, Bjornestad added.
Receiving stations in the district will be open on a phased schedule to take grower deliveries during the early dig. The Factory station at Lovell opens on Saturday, followed by Starr on Monday, Sept. 16, West Powell on Sept. 18, Emblem on Sept. 25, Heart Mountain on Sept. 27 and Willwood on Oct. 2.
The regular harvest begins on Oct. 6, with all stations open. During the early dig, growers are required to deliver 3.75 tons of beets per contracted acre.