The Roundup -

Beet Crops Are Growing Steadily; Harvest Is Planned To Begin On Schedule


Beet fields south of Sidney show a healthy growth canopy despite summer hailstorms.

The 2015 beet crop is growing steadily with the summer heat, rapid irrigation and harvest is estimated to begin on schedule.

Planting began slightly early this year, about the second or third week of April as the ground was warm and moisture came up through the ground evenly in many fields. Growing conditions have been good throughout the spring and summer, minus the hail. Approximately 9,500 acres have seen hail at different times with varying severities. Fields that were hailed on early in the season have recovered, however, beets that had a full growth canopy suffered more damage during later hailstorms causing energy to be diverted into making new leaves rather than developing the beet itself.

There is estimated to be 28.3 tons/acre this year, which is what the new average is expected to be with the Roundup Ready beets and the acres are a little bit better than they were in 2014. The first sample, which samples tonnage rather than sugar content, was taken the week of July 6 and was one of the better samples according to Russ Fullmer, agricultural manager. The second sample will be a benchmark for sugar content.

Preparing the grounds at Sidney Sugars will begin in September, moving pilers and getting equipment ready. Harvest should start near the end of September, beginning as early as possible, with hopes for consistent fall weather. While cooler weather is best for beet storage, beets store decently in consistently warmer weather as well.

"We want one temperature or another," said Fullmer. "It's the back and forth that isn't good for beet storage."

With the season on track, farmers and Sidney Sugars alike prepare for beet harvest. Sidney Sugars employees as many as 200 people between the factory and campaign and Express Personal out of Grand Forks, ND will be returning in September to hire harvest employees for the factory. For anyone interested in working campaign, which runs from October-February, they can pick up an application at Sidney Job Service, 211 N Central Ave, Sidney, MT.


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