The sugar beet harvest will kick off in October as usual, but early harvest begins on Aug. 31, at Western Sugar in Scottsbluff.
“Right now, we have great news for Nebraska, we’re showing 33.7 tons per acre with an 18.65 sugar,” said Jerry Darnell, Western Sugar vice president of ag for the South Region.
Western Sugar completed its most recent root samples on Aug. 26, along with the samples from the panhandle, samples from Colorado are 32.4 tons with a 17.94 sugar, in Billings, Mont. they are 34.91 tons with a 17.66 sugar and, in Lovell, Wyo. they are at 28.6 ton with a 16.93 sugar.
“So overall for the cooperative we’re at 33 ton with an 18 sugar, so it would be a record-breaking crop for the cooperative,” Darnell said.
The record crop this year can be attributed to good weather, heat units, and timely irrigation. Unlike last year when hail and the Ft. Laramie Canal failure caused damage to many of the crops in the sugar beet crop in Nebraska and Wyoming.
The weather this year has been dry and hot, with temperatures in the 100s the week leading up to early harvest.
Western Sugar will keep an eye on the weather, as hot temperatures can cause the sugar beets to rot in the piles.
With early harvest beginning Monday, Darnall said they wouldn’t be bringing in more than enough beets to keep a couple of days ahead of the factory.
The record crop will see the sugar beet campaign run about 180 days.