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Michigan Sugar Beet Growers Counting Their Blessings

Sugarbeets from Getner-Bischer Farms, Michigan. Photo: Ashley Davenport
Sugarbeets from Getner-Bischer Farms, Michigan. Photo: Ashley Davenport

With the tough year that 2019 turned into being, Michigan sugar beet growers have done well this year, according to Rob Clark, spokesman for Michigan Sugar Company.

“Our growers are to be commended for banding together in the cooperative spirit at the end and helping each other,” he said. “There were people driving from the west district to the east district—Bay City to the Thumb—to help their neighbors.”

As a result, there’s good news for the 2019 Michigan sugar beet crop.

“We harvested 154,000 acres—we had to leave about 100 acres in the ground,” said Clark. “We couldn’t get them—[it was] too wet, too snowy, too muddy—but that’s not bad considering and we’re looking at a 28.7 tons per acre crop.”

Clark says they are grateful the crop turned out to be better than expected, and sugar content is estimated to be at 18.1 percent.

“We’ve got beets going through the factory every day,” he said. “We’re about 90 days into our processing campaign, and the weather is perfect.”

According to Clark, there were some beets that were damaged by frost, and they’re trying to process those first. He said with 900 grower-owners, they did a phenomenal job because competitors in the Red River Valley left what would be an entire Michigan Sugar Company in the fields.

As a result, the U.S. will be importing sugar from Mexico.