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Montana Ag Network: Sugar growers wrap up another successful harvest

Another sugar beet harvest is in the books for Montana and northern Wyoming sugar growers.

Randall Jobman, Western Sugar’s Vice President of Agriculture, North Region in Billings, said despite early weather challenges, growers raised another excellent crop.

He added that growers had a challenging spring because it was extremely wet.

“With those conditions we had some delayed planting. The growing season also brought an abnormal amount of hail. So, our yield expectations were less than we had hoped. The Montana crop is going to come in just under 31 tons per acre but have a 17.34 percent sugar content, which is higher than expected. And our northern Wyoming crop is going to average 29 tons per acre with an 18.2 percent sugar content. The quality in Wyoming was also excellent and exceeded expectations,” Jobman said.

He said the weather really did play a big factor in this year’s production versus last year.

“This year is going to be about 10 percent less than last year,” said Jobman. “We just didn’t get the growing degree units that we typically do. The length of the growing season is important to sugar beets and because of the late planting we just didn’t have normal growing season factors working for us this year.”

Even though mother nature dished out some early challenges, he said this year’s nice fall weather allowed growers to get the beets out of their fields without any major headaches, which isn’t always the case.

The sugar beet harvest is also complete for growers along the Lower Yellowstone.

Duane Peters with Sidney Sugars said this year’s crop averaged around 31 tons per acre with sugar content near 18 percent.

-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News

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