In one of the most unusual spring planting periods in Amalgamated's history, the company has no tally of what beets are being planted where.
Del Traveler, assistant to the vice president of agriculture for the company, said it won't be until May 15 before the company has a good handle on this year's planting.
What has thrown things into the air is the Idaho Power Company power buyback. Many high-lift pump irrigators have chosen to forego using power to pump this summer in lieu of a per kWh payment.
Beet growers, still obligated for contracted acres-or to pay the company's assessment anyway-have moved their beets. Most of the beets moved include those around the Snake River from Twin Falls west to Mountain Home.
Traveler says many acres have been placed in the Magic Valley, some in eastern Idaho, and he is unsure of rumors that some have been moved into Oregon.
Acreage will be down a little, Traveler says, because of the power buy back and because of the acreage movement. Many acres have been contracted grower-to-grower with growers paying other growers to grow for them. Traveler says because the co-op allows this, it won't be until after all planting is done by the deadline of May 15 that the company can get a handle on it.
Traveler said the company has changed its haul-back charge this year to a freight-neutral plan. Instead of the company splitting the haul to the factory, the grower must pay for his own haul this year to justify the movement of beets outside traditional growing areas.
On a disappointing note, Traveler confirmed that nearly 6,000 acres of beets in the Nampa, ID, area were frozen on the morning of April 9 and had to be replanted.