Harvest Looks Good in Wyoming, Nebraska

Published online: Sep 21, 2017 News Chabella Guzman
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The early run of sugarbeets is under way at both the Scottsbluff, Neb., and Torrington, Wyo., Western Sugar plants. Regular harvest will begin Oct. 6.

“We’ve purchased just over 100,000 tons of beets and we are averaging 15.88 [percent] sugar,” says Jerry Darnell, vice president of ag for the southern region of Western Sugar. “And the sugar has been rising daily.”

The projected final for the crop should average 18 percent sugar, Darnell says. He added that not only is the harvest looking good, but the price of sugar is up from last year.

Jack Roney, chief economist for the American Sugar Alliance, agrees with Darnell.

“This year’s harvest is shaping up to be occurring at one of the best times for sugar prices,” Roney says. “In the last several years, the U.S. refined sugar prices have been depressed because Mexico was dumping an inordinate amount of sugar on the U.S. market.”

In July the U.S. and Mexico signed a finalized amendment to the Countervailing Duty Suspension agreement on sugar from Mexico, to put an end to the sugar dumping.

“We’ve seen prices improve from 28 to 29 cents per pound to current pricing of 32 to 33 cents a pound,” Roney says. “That’s a significant change. We’re optimistic it could improve a bit, and we’re hoping it will.”

Another event that could affect the sugar market is Hurricane Irma.

“Hurricane Irma was bad for sugarcane farmers, and it could be weeks before they know what the damage is in their fields,” says Roney.

While the hurricane could affect the market, consumers shouldn’t be worried about an increase at the store.

“If our crops are short, the U.S. will be able to import more sugar from Mexico or our traditional quota holders to see that we have a stable, steady and high-quality supply for our American consumers,” says Roney.

The American Sugar Alliance is confident as long as the U.S. and Mexican governments enforce their agreements, there will be a much more certain outlook in the sugar market.


Source: KTIC Radio