Sugarbeets a Sweet Deal for Montana

Published online: Oct 16, 2017 News Russell Nemetz

Source: KRTV

 

In states like Montana, sugar is more than just a sweetener you put in your favorite recipes. It’s a huge economic driver for the state’s No. 1 industry: agriculture.

This year, Montana sugar producers are expected to harvest around 42,400 acres of sugarbeets statewide. That’s down slightly from last year’s 45,600 but still expected to produce more than 1.3 million tons of sugar.

“The last root samples that Sidney Sugars came out with show an estimated crop of nearly 32 tons per acre, which is pretty close to last year’s record crop of a little over 33 tons,” says Russell Steinbeisser, a sugarbeet grower along the Lower Yellowstone Valley near Sidney, Mont.

As with other commodities grown in Montana, research and technology are helping sugar growers plow through challenges like weeds that can impact overall yield and sugar content.

“Sugar is a very healthy product,” says Steinbeisser. “If you eat too much of anything, it’s not good for you.”

The Western Sugar Cooperative harvest is also in full swing in southern Montana and northern Wyoming.