Eastern Idaho Beet Crop Looks Above Average

Published online: Oct 22, 2019 News Emily Hone
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Source: Bingham County Chronicle

While Bingham County, Idaho’s potato harvest was winding down last week, the sugarbeet harvest was just getting a good start. While beets are less sensitive to cold than potatoes, farmers who grow them are almost as anxious to get their crops out of the ground before permanent cold temperatures set in.

With 26,000 acres of sugarbeets to be harvested in the county, the Liberty Beet Dump west of Blackfoot, Idaho—where beets from that area of the county are stored while waiting transport to a sugar factory—was a bewildering mass of trucks coming and going as they weighed their loads, dumped them, and rushed back to the fields to get another.

Where the ground was bare the previous week, as of Friday there were already four to five pyramids of beets stacked around Liberty.

Jessica Anderson, communications specialist for Amalgamated Sugar Company, which processes the beets for the Snake River Sugar Co. growers cooperative, confirmed that. She said as of Oct. 15, the average sugar percentage of the county’s 2019 crop was 17.7, higher than the company-wide average of 17.48 percent.

Anderson said Bingham County is included in the Mini-Cassia Factory District, and harvest in the entire district is 50 percent complete.

Now the industry knows that’s not the case, Evans said. With weather behaving so erratically, the worry now is that even though the beet tops were killed by an early frost, Fall could bring a spell of high temperatures that would warm the beets to the point they started growing again. He said that would affect sugar content because it would go into growth so the grower would get less money.