Thursday, 02 November 2017 16:50

Sugar beet crop started slow, finishing strong

Written by  Demi Knight
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The sweetest crop in Southern Alberta is finally in harvest as the cool October weather sets in.

While the snow hit the ground and water rained down, the harvest of these crops was temporarily delayed at the start of the month due to a snow-storm that shook the south of the province.
However, with the harvest back on track it seems Sugar Beets may have gotten a late start this year, but are beginning to grow in sweetly and hopefully back on schedule.
 With the expected start date of October 2nd, the harvest fell behind as the month brought in with it trouble.
While harvest was pushed back as producers waited for the weather to stabilize, the work process for these crops has been made even more extensive as the game of catch-up begins says Executive Director with Alberta Sugar Beet Growers (ASBG), Melody Garner-Skiba.
“With a weather delay like this and a large crop to be brought in there is no shortage of work ahead for our farmers as they try to harvest before really harsh weather moves in.”
With plans to harvest over 26,000 acres of sugar beets this year within the next month, work is piling up to get these crops out of the ground before the winter sets in.
With an already delayed start of being more than a week behind, the estimated 780,000 tonnes of beets that will be delivered to Roger’s sugar in Taber for processing and refinement should still be able to refine 100,000 tonnes of sugar by mid-February.
But why is this time crunch a problem? Well, with the sweet treats that the sugar beet harvest makes possible within southern Alberta, there’s a specific protocol that must be followed when harvesting the precious crop that is often difficult to do in the approaching weather.
While the crops thrive in dry weather with as little mud and debris clouding them as possible, producers are hoping that the weather can hold out in the upcoming weeks to ensure good quality in these high value beets.

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