5% of Michigan sugarbeets likely to be abandoned


5% of Michigan sugarbeets likely to be abandoned

Wet, muddy conditions have kept many Michigan farmers from harvesting their crops for the past several weeks but the sugarbeets have kept growing.

“Growers are seeing tons they haven’t quite honestly seen before.”

Adam Herford, board chair of the Michigan Sugar Company, tells Brownfield a record crop is expected with the potential for growers to harvest more than a million additional tons above average.

“I think as we got rains in September and early October, we just found out just how explosive a beet crop can be with rain and warm, above-average temperatures in the fall,” he explains.

But tough decisions need to be made for the larger crop and if extending the processing period will be enough to maintain crop quality.  Monday the board will decide if five percent of harvest needs to be left in the field.

“With the extreme yields that we’re seeing, it’s just safer to leave a certain percentage in the field because our slice end date got us into the end of April and we’re just not comfortable running the factories that long,” he says.

Herford says wet conditions have also increased disease pressure in all crops and added labor concerns at all levels as the harvest and slicing campaign will run longer than normal.