The Roundup -

Campaign Nears Completion

 

February 21, 2018 | View PDF

Sidney Sugars general manager David Garland stands with a pile of dried beet pulp. The pulp is used in feed rations for livestock.

The process of extracting sugar from beets dates back to 1747 when a German chemist first demonstrated that crystals formed after a crude extraction from pulverized beets were identical in properties with sugar cane crystals. From there, beet varieties and processing have evolved to what we have today.

Beet sugar makes up 54% of domestic sugar production with a close and cooperative relationship existing between excellent growers and the plants that process the beets. Sidney Sugars is one of only 23 highly efficient sugarbeet factories still operating in the U.S.

A small amount of sugar is used locally but the vast majority is shipped out in rail cars, or by truck. Our local sugar is used in everything from the obvious candy, beverages and cereals to pharmaceuticals, pet food and even vodka.

According to general manager David Garland, Sidney Sugars has had a very good campaign. Slicing ended February 16th, with campaign scheduled to be completed February 21st or 22nd. Although the cold weather was hard on employees, beet storage was phenomenal due to less fluctuation in temperatures. Processing has gone well with the factory slicing an average of 6,320 tons per day.

Tons per acre were slightly down this year but 32,276 acres were harvested at an average 31.3 tons per acre. Sidney Sugars purchased 1,010,307 tons of beets at an average 17.99% sugar. Sugar content was up, meaning Sidney Sugars will end up producing around 275 million pounds of sugar this season compared to 260 million pounds last year.

Planters test stand days are scheduled for Tuesday & Wednesday, Feb. 27 & 28th. Call Sidney Sugars for an appointment. Above: Growers and Sidney Sugars personell watch the beet seed on this oiled belt to determine if spacing is correct.

Garland credits early harvest as one of the reasons for a successful campaign. Each district harvested 10% of the crop, beginning September 14th, with the factory able to start processing on the 16th. "The early start will continue with million ton crops," Garland said.

Sidney Sugars management and employees are proud of the EXCELLENT rating the factory received during an unannounced audit of the facility on January 11th. Each year, the factory is audited for Food Safety and Food Quality. Over 2 ½ days, the auditor inspects every corner of the factory, interviews employees and examines all policies and paperwork. Customers looking to purchase sugar can review the results of the audit before they make a decision.

Campaign is over for this year, but Sidney Sugars will spend the spring and summer doing upgrades and maintenance on the facility, getting ready for harvest in the fall.

 

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