Sugarbeet prices fall to a 30-year low

Published online: Oct 30, 2013
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Wyoming's sugar beet harvest is set to be a record breaker.

But this year's large harvest also coincides with the lowest price for sugar since the 1980s.

Only about 45-percent of this year's beet crop is harvested, but already Randall Jobman, the agriculture manager for the Western Sugar Cooperative, says it's going to be one of the best on record.

He says a combination of factors have created such an abundant crop.

"There's a lot of things that go into this," he says. "We've got some good varieties, we've got some good disease packages, we had a decent kind of spring with water where growers were able to irrigate up, we got a good start. Hadn't received a lot of hail and adverse weather throughout the summer, although we did have some."

But the price of sugar is currently at a 30-year low. In the past few years, sugarbeets have sold for $70 per ton. They're currently selling for half that price. Mexican imports of sugar have doubled in recent years on top of an already stagnant world demand. 

Cooperatives like Jobman's are responding by storing the beets until prices rebound. Jobman says the beets can be stored safely through February.