Lack of rain pushed up sugar content, Crystal general agronomist reports

    Into the third week of the 2018 American Crystal Sugar sugar beet pre-pile harvest, Crystal General Agronomist Tyler Grove says the sugar beets, for this point in the harvest, are showing some of their highest sugar content in years.

    “That’s nice, it’s good news, but it also tells us that subsoil moisture is lower than normal,” Grove explained. “The recent rains may have messed up the pre-pile schedule, but they are a blessing because we needed the rain to get the beets to bulk up a bit.”

    After a couple years with a wet cycle toward summer’s end, Grove said the extended dry stretch over the past several weeks means there’s less moisture for the sugar beet roots to draw on, and that drives up sugar content. “With the rain, the roots will take in more water, and I think as a result we’ll see the sugar content drop a little.”

    Tonnage is ranging from 20 to 25 tons per acre, which Grove said is to be expected given the lack of rain leading up to pre-pile. American Crystal’s end-of-harvest yield estimate remains at 30.8, he said, while adding that forecast was made some time ago.

    “We count on average moisture conditions when we make that forecast, so that’s a challenge,” he said.

    Otherwise, Grove said the pre-pile is going well, with safety being Crystal’s top priority.

    “We always remind people to be safe, and that there are no shortcuts,” he said.