DENVER — The Western Sugar Cooperative in a Nov. 9 letter informed customers it had declared force majeure, reducing its forecast sugar deliveries for 2022-23 (Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023) by about 12%.   

“Effective immediately, Western Sugar will be allocating its estimated available sugar for the 2022-23 campaign season among its customers by supplying an estimated 88% allocation of total contract volumes,” said Rodney Perry, president and chief executive officer of Western Sugar.

“Our grower-owners experienced several weather events that reduced their total harvested beets,” Mr. Perry said. “Specifically, a freeze event in May caused many of our growers to have to replant their acres only to have some of those replants and some of their existing crop to be destroyed or damaged by multiple hail events in June. In addition, general unfavorable weather conditions reduced the overall quality of the remaining crop, which also reduced overall sugar production. We took steps to allow the crop to maximize its remaining potential by delaying harvest allowing the crop to mature longer and reduce the overall effect of these weather events on our forecasted total sugar production.

“Western Sugar regrets these weather events have affected our available supply of sugar to your company. We will provide you with an update if our available sugar volumes change as beet storage and production continues at our facilities.”

The US Department of Agriculture on Sept. 29 announced a marketing allocation of 590,415 tons of sugar to the Western Sugar Cooperative, equal to about 10% of the US beet sugar marketing allotment and equal to about 5.5% of total sugar (beet and cane) marketing allotment in 2022-23. Under the US sugar program, the USDA sets the amount of sugar each beet and cane processor can sell in a given marketing year.   

Western Sugar, along with United Sugars Corp., both declared force majeure on a portion of their 2019-20 sugar sales in November 2019 after adverse weather affected beet crops during the harvest period. Earlier this year, the Michigan Sugar Co. declared force majeure on a portion of its 2021-22 contracted sugar sales due to lower-than-expected sugar content in its 2021 beet crop.