Thursday, 12 October 2017 06:34

Harvest is underway for sweetest crop in Alberta

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Topping start6s near Rainier on Thanksgiving Day. Topping start6s near Rainier on Thanksgiving Day. Ryan Dahlman

The harvest of the sweetest crop in Southern Alberta is now underway despite a later start due to snowy and wet weather conditions.


This year over 26,000 acres of sugar beets will be harvested from across Southern Alberta over the next 4-6 weeks. It is estimated that over 780,000 tonnes of beets will be delivered to Roger’s Sugar in Taber for processing and refinement. If everything goes right, the anticipated sugar to be refined from this crop should be close to 100,000 tonnes.
Main harvest was set to start on October 2nd, but due to the wet weather, harvest was delayed. It is important that sugar beets are dug and delivered to the piling grounds with as little mud and debris attached to them as possible for better long-term storage and processing. Sugar beets are stored outside in piles that are monitored for heat and spoilage and delivered to the factory as needed.
 The factory is up and running and harvest is now occurring in almost all of the districts at time of press release. Typically, all of the beets will be processed by mid-February.
“With a weather delay like this and a large crop to be brought in there is no shortage of work ahead for our farmers as they try to harvest before really harsh weather moves in. I know all of us would like to see lots of moisture as we need it, but if we could hold off on that for at least a few more weeks, it would be best for the beet crop and harvest.” Says Melody Garner-Skiba, Executive Director with ASBG. “The last thing we want is this high yielding crop to be left in the ground.”
In some areas, harvest will be occurring around the clock while others it will be going until very late in the evening. We encourage everyone to keep their eyes out for trucks that are hauling beets back and forth from the piling grounds. Piling grounds are located in Enchant, Picture Butte, Coaldale, Tempest, Taber, Vauxhall, and Burdett/Bow Island.
Alberta Sugar Beet Growers strives to ensure a Southern Alberta Sugar Beet Industry exists that is progressive and sustainable. It is focused on promoting the industry through effective partnerships, providing a united voice for producers, guiding research to enhance competitiveness while providing leadership and representation to local producers at all levels.
The history of growing sugar beets in Southern Alberta dates back to 1902 with multiple generations of families growing #absugar22

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