American Crystal considers cut in sugar beet harvest

by Ron Sterk
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MOORHEAD, MINN. — The American Crystal Sugar Co. has told its growers to delay harvest of part of their sugar beet acres until mid-October because of higher-than-expected volumes.

David Berg, president of American Crystal, said the cooperative’s board asked growers to identify up to 10% of their crop for possible destruction to avoid processing losses in the spring, according to a newspaper report from the area.

A source at the company told Milling & Baking News that beets were larger than expected and tonnage might surpass what local beet processing plants can handle. He noted that the sugar content was low and that the high volume yields would not necessarily result in equally high beet sugar outturn.

It generally is less costly to destroy the beets in the field than to harvest them and not be able to process them, which results in rotting piles and high cleanup costs.

The source indicated it was not unusual for American Crystal to ask growers to designate a portion of their crop for possible in-field destruction.

The cooperative projected its growers would harvest 420,000 acres of sugar beets, about 80,000 acres, or 16%, less than the 500,000 acres harvested last year.

American Crystal has beet processing plants in Moorhead, East Grand Forks and Crookston, Minn., and in Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D.

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