Crystal approves 100 percent harvest of 2010 beets

A sweet treat for beet harvest

American Crystal Sugar Co. on Oct. 15 authorized growers to lift their entire 2010 planted acres, says Dan Bernhardson, agricultural director.

The Moorhead-based farmer-owned cooperative originally allowed producers to plant only 85 percent of their preferred shares this spring. Because of a large anticipated crop, they initially were asked to harvest only 70 percent of preferred stock. That was bumped up to 80 percent on Oct. 8, and now up to the full 85 percent, or a total of about 415,000 acres, companywide.

Crystal has five factories and factory districts across the central and northern Red River Valley.

Harvest is 84 percent complete, Bernhardson noted, and several growers had bumped up against the 80 percent of preferred shares maximum, and were waiting for a decision.

The decision is based on the processing schedule for processing what could be an estimated crop of 11.1 million to 11.2 million ton crop. An 11.2 million ton crop would be based on an average of about 27 tons per acre yield. At that level, Minnesota factories would be expected to run through May 15 and North Dakota factories would run through May 30.

Bernhardson says the reason for the difference is different wastewater holding capacities in the factories on either side  of the border. “If we end up shorter (on tons) we’ll move the North Dakota factories back,” Bernhardson says. He says if the yield turns out to be 26.5 tons, all beet factories could be expected finished with beet slice on May 15.

The processing season is setting new records. The 1.08 million tons harvested on Oct. 13 was the highest single day for the co-op, besting a 1.06 million ton record set in 2006.

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