Strong showing reported for early sugar beet harvest


TORRINGTON – As the 2017 Western Sugar Cooperative sugar beet early harvest reaches the midway point, the company is pleased with results.
All plants, except Fort Morgan, Colo., were running late last week. The lone Colorado facility was idle because wet weather had prevented harvesting. Billings, Mont., as well as Lovell and Torrington, have been up and running for several weeks. Torrington started early harvest on Sept. 5. It also processes Wheatland area beets.
Jerry Darnell, Western’s vice president of agriculture, said local results have been exceptional. With 230,000 tons purchased, sugar content is averaging 16.1 percent, with a high of 16.7 percent recorded on Sept. 28. Sugar loss to molasses, or SLM, is at 1.21.
Darnell said the SLM is very good, lower than the 1.3 at this time last year.
“We have good quality beets, the sugar is good and the growers are pleased with the tonnage,” Darnell said Friday from his Scottsbluff, Neb., office.
“We’re right on track with a 32-ton average yield,” Darnell said of the overall picture for early harvest. At this point in the 2016 harvest, 45,000 tons had been purchased.
Regular harvest is anticipated to begin Oct. 16.
Torrington was scheduled to halt processing for a few days early this week. Processing schedules will depend on the impact of the wet weather that arrived in eastern Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle on Monday.


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