Michigan Sugar to Begin Beet Slicing

Published online: Sep 06, 2019 News
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Source: NBC 25 News

Michigan Sugar Company is set to begin its 2019-20 sugarbeet harvest on Monday, Sept. 9, with beets being received at the company’s factories in Bay City, Caro, Croswell, and Sebewaing.

All four factories are scheduled to start the annual slicing campaign on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

According to a news release, company officials are predicting a 185- to 190-day campaign this year with processing wrapping up sometime between March 10-15.

“We had a very challenging spring due to wet weather and field conditions that created great variability across our growing region,” said Jim Ruhlman, Executive Vice President for Michigan Sugar Company, adding the company was able to plant 154,000 acres of sugarbeets – 3,000 acres less than originally planned. “Some of our nearly 900 grower-owners were able to plant beets in March, while others had to wait until June. The result is a crop that continues to show great variability.”

That said, Ruhlman noted some positive results of pre-harvest samples taken in late August.

The 200 samples tested showed an average sugar content of 17.07%, the highest pre-harvest sample quality in eight years. Stand count – the average number of beets in a 100-yard row – came in at 213, also an eight-year high.

The average yield in the pre-harvest sample was 19.34 tons per acre, less than similar samples taken last year that showed yields of 23.29 tons per acre. The lower tonnage this year is due to lack of moisture in August as the beets began to mature and put on weight. Michigan Sugar Company’s estimated yield, dependent on adequate rainfall in the coming weeks, is 27.5 tons per acre, down from last year’s final yield of 29.3 tons per acre. That equates to more than 4.2 million tons expected for delivery.

“We can certainly use some rain over the next few weeks, but the good news is we have an incredibly healthy crop,” he said, noting last year’s battle with leafspot disease. “Our growers have simply done a phenomenal job.”

Michigan Sugar Company will be hiring. To learn more about what jobs are available click here.