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Average sugar beet crop expected as harvest starts
October 02, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photos by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - The 2014-15 beet campaign at Wester Sugar Cooperative in Scottsbluff is now underway with rehaul trailers making their way from Alliance daily. The processing campaign started Sept. 17 and will run through the end of February 2015.

As this year’s sugar processing campaign gets underway, about eight percent of the crop has been harvested – about 100,000 tons.

“Things are moving along pretty good for early in the harvest,” said Jerry Darnell, regional ag manager with Western Sugar Cooperative. “The early sugar content was at 15.7 percent, which is good for this time of year. It’s now up to 16.3 percent, so I’m confident we’ll make our target of 17 percent by the end of the harvest.”

The season is just getting underway, but Darnell estimated the yield should be around 29 tons per acre, which is the average for the last four years.

“Before that time we were averaging about 25 tons per acre, so it’s been a good crop this year,” Darnell said.

He added there was a slight amount of hail damage earlier in the growing season, but not enough to negatively affect the crop. There was also sufficient water to finish out the beets for 2014.

“We have about 46,000 acres of sugar beets this year, which is about average,” Darnell said. “Between the Scottsbluff and Torrington plants, we’ll process about 1.5 million tons of beets.”

The processing campaign at both plants started on Sept. 17 and will run through the last week of February 2015.

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