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David Sparks Ph.d Idaho Sugar Beets
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: October 20, 2017

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Magic Valley farmers might have the second greatest sugar beet harvest of the decade. “On our farm, the beet crop is looking very good,” said Tyson Wrigley. “So far I think our yield has been higher than the average. Even better than last year and it was considered a bumper crop. So far the sugars are good. Last year we had better sugars and we’re only partway through this year so we still have hope the sugar will raise as we go on in the coming weeks.” At the Dot.11 farm south of Burley they’re sending up great clouds of dust, running sun-up to sundown topping and digging beets.

 

According to Amalgamated Sugar Company, last years beet crop broke a lot of company records with sugar content climbing towards 20 percent and yields above 40 tons per acre. Preliminary 2017 price estimates are running at $37 to $40 per ton, not far off last years blistering pace.

 

Magic Valley suffered through one of the worst winters on record followed by weeks of rainfall. All that mud kept equipment out of the fields, delaying planting for weeks.

 

“We ran our beet planter 24 hours a day for five days and luckily got all the beets in. When the rain came and it created a very good emergence this year. We had a great crop right from the start and we didn’t have frost or anything to where we didn’t have re-plants, that's why the numbers are so good,” said Wrigley.

 

According to Amalgamated Sugar Company, last years beet crop broke company records with sugar content climbing towards 20 percent with yields above 40 tons per acre. Preliminary 2017 price estimates are running at $37 to $40 per ton, not far off last years blistering pace.

 

“The last field we did we got $45 a ton and 17 percent sugar,” said Wrigley. “I think $45 ton is a very good crop, we’re happy with that and hoping the sugar content continues to rise as we go along. We’re hoping for closer to 18-percent and I think we’ll see that.”

 

Last year Wrigley says his fields averaged almost $48 a ton and the sugar content was between 18 and 20 percent.

 

“I’m excited about this year. It is fun to get the harvest over with and see what the crops did. I like to see what we’ve earned for all the hard work that started last winter and it is exciting. Last year was a very good year. I don’t think this year will totally beat it but it'll be close and that’s a very good year in my book,” said Wrigley.

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