The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011



INSIDE THIS ISSUE Sugarbeet News *Oregon's Grande Ronde Area *Michigan's Stacked' Beets *Industry's Economic Impact *Our Regular Departments

Transcript of The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

Page 1: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011
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— Feature Articles —

Beets in Grande Ronde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Production pocket in northeastern Oregon

Stacking Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Michigan Sugar takes different tack to piling, storage

142,000+ Jobs & $20 Billion in Revenue . 16That’s the economic impact of the U.S. sugar industry

— Regular Pages —

Write Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4One More Round . . .

Dateline: Washington . . . . . . . . . . 10National debt, farm bill, Roundup Ready

30 Years Ago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Excerpts from our December 1981 issue

Around the Industry . . . . . . . . . . . 18Who, what & where it’s happening

— Front Cover —USDA’s first estimate of

2011 U.S. sugarbeet productionplaced this year’s crop at almost 28.9 million tons —about 3 million below that of2010. An updated estimatewill be released in January.

Photo: Don Lilleboe

THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011 3

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‘Serving The Nation’s SugarbeetCommunity Since 1963’

Volume 50 Number 6November/December 2011

Sugar Publications4601 16th Ave. N.Fargo, ND 58102

Phone: (701) 476-2111Fax: (701) 476-2182

E-Mail: [email protected] Site:

Publisher: Sugar Publications

General Manager & Editor: Don Lilleboe

Advertising Manager: Heidi Wieland (701) 476-2003

Graphics: Forum Communications Printing

The Sugarbeet Grower is published sixtimes annually (January, February, March,April/May, July/August, November/December)by Sugar Publications, a division of ForumCommunications Printing.North American sugarbeet producers re-

ceive the magazine on a complimentary basis.Annual subscription rates are $12.00 domes-tic and $18.00 for foreign subscribers.Advertising in The Sugarbeet Grower

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The parts man slowly shook his head,Then grumbled as he frowned.

“I guess it looks to me likeYou tried for one more round.”

I said, “I hope that you can matchThe pieces that I found.

I guess I darkened up the paintOn that one last round.”

I noticed things were not just right;I thought I heard a sound.

But I could finish up that truckIf it made just one last round.

The shift would then be over,The guys all homeward bound.

Then I’ll have time to fix it upAfter one more round.

I can’t see it anyway’Til I twist way around.

I’ll stop and take a better lookAfter one more round.

The smoke cloud isn’t all that thick;It’s just begun to pound.

I sure think that it will holdWhile I make one more round.

Most things are still quite in place,Not dragging on the ground.

I’ll be closer to the service truck If I make one more round.

The King of OptimismI guess I should be crowned,

For thinking there was any chanceTo make it one more round.

David Kragnes farms near Felton, Minn.He is a former chairman of AmericanCrystal Sugar Co., and currently serves onthe board of directors of CoBank.

4 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

One More Round

American SugarbeetGrowers Association

2012Annual Meeting

‘Designing the 2012 Farm Bill in a Turbulent Economic and

Political Environment’

February 9-11

Walt Disney World Swan Resort

Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

— For Details —

WriteField By David Kragnes




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Nearly all shareholders of SnakeRiver Sugar Company — the par-

ent cooperative of AmalgamatedSugar Company — farm in the MagicValley of south central Idaho or the

Treasure Valley of western Idaho/east-ern Oregon. There are two exceptions.One is the Horse Heaven Hills areaadjacent to the Columbia River insouthern Washington, where three

farming operations currently produceabout 2,000 acres of sugarbeets. Theother is in northeastern Oregon’sGrande Ronde Valley, where eightAmalgamated shareholders raise an-other 2,000 acres of beets each year.Bill Wahlert is the longtime Amal-

gamated crop consultant who workswith growers in those two locales.Beets from both Horse Heaven Hillsand the Grande Ronde Valley aretrucked to Nampa, Idaho, site of Amal-gamated’s nearest factory, for process-ing. That’s no small feat, given thatHorse Heaven Hills is about 290 milesfrom Nampa, while LaGrande — thebiggest community in the GrandeRonde Valley — lies approximately160 miles to the northwest of Nampa.Why does the company maintain

production so far away from the fac-tory? Quantity and quality. HorseHeaven Hills beet yields commonly av-erage 43-45 tons per acre, with sugarcontent typically in the high 16s. Ton-nage is lower around LaGrande, butgrowers there “are almost always inthe upper 17s or lower 18s on sugarcontent,” Wahlert notes. That’s a good1% above the overall company sugaraverage in a typical year.Because these two production

pockets are quite limited in acreageand so distant from the main produc-tion region, no beet seed company de-velops varieties specifically for them.Nor is there any public or private re-search established in these two pock-ets — with one exception.That exception is Bill Wahlert.

Since the late 1990s, he has operatedhis own unofficial variety trials, typi-cally planting two or three varietiesfrom each of the seed companies thatare active in the Treasure Valley (Be-taseed, Crystal Beet Seed, Holly/SES-Vanderhave and Syngenta/Hilleshog).One trial site is in Horse HeavenHills; the other near LaGrande. Vari-eties in both locations are replicatedtwice, and Wahlert hosts an annualfield day where growers can view theplots and visit with seed company rep-resentatives. Year-end harvested re-sults likewise are shared with localgrowers and the seed companies.Within recent years, Wahlert’s tri-

als have had an added dimension:comparing varieties for tolerance/re-sistance to Aphanomyces. (Cont.)

Beets in Grande Ronde

Small Production Pocket in Northeastern OregonProduces High Sugars But Wrestles Aphanomyces






6 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

Left: Veteran Amalgamated Sugar cropconsultant Bill Wahlert has worked withGrande Ronde Valley sugarbeet growerssince the crop was introduced into thenortheastern Oregon area in the 1990s.

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This disease is presently consid-ered the biggest challenge to sugar-beet production in the LaGrande area.(It’s just as serious, or worse, in HorseHeaven Hills.) “I can find Aphano-myces to some degree in every field Igo into” in the Grande Ronde Valley,Wahlert says. He and others believe ithas been present in valley beet fieldsfor a number of years, but previouslywasn’t well understood or taken tooseriously. “Then, in 2006, we had abad year. And in 2008 we started rat-ing the varieties in the strip trials [fortolerance to Aphanomyces].”

A liming study was conducted thatsame year. “Since then, growers havebeen applying lime — maybe not asmuch as they should; but if they knowthey have an Aphanomyces problem,they’re generally putting down abouttwo tons of dry spent lime to the acre,”Wahlert says.

One complication in gauging vari-eties for tolerance to Aphanomyces is

the requirement that all Treasure Val-ley-approved varieties have acceptablelevels of resistance to curly top — longa prime disease issue in that produc-tion area. Curly top is not as consis-tent a problem in the Grande RondeValley as it is in the Treasure Valley,and some of the best curly top vari-eties don’t have very good Aphano-myces tolerance.

All of the area’s sugarbeet growersuse Tachigaren-treated seed for earlyseason control of Aphanomyces. Butit’s agreed that for good managementof the mid-season form of this disease,the long-term answer has to come inthe form of tolerant or resistant vari-eties.

John Frisch says he’s been limingto help manage Aphanomyces in hissugarbeet fields. Just as important,though, he now takes a different ap-proach to his center-pivot irrigation.“Bill has really hammered on me toback off on my irrigation, and I’ve re-sisted,” Frisch states. “But I did thisyear, and it made a difference.” Theidea is to lengthen out the interval be-tween irrigation cycles so that the soilhas time to partially dry out — hencenot being as conducive forAphanomyces development. Frischsays higher-than-average spring rain-fall made that decision easier thisyear. “I knew we had good subsoilmoisture, so I wasn’t quite as worriedabout getting behind” on sprinkler ap-plications,” he notes.

Guy Weishaar, another LaGrandearea grower, also sees the benefit ofstretching out irrigation intervals.“We’ve been irrigating in this valleyfor 50 years, so we understand our soilwater needs and plant needs,”Weishaar observes. “I like to waterreal heavy; then back off and let themdry down.” Some of his fields containup to seven or eight different soiltypes — everything from sand toheavy clays. “So there are some soilswhere it’s not going to work well;they’re just going to stay wet,” hepoints out. “But other soils will dryout.”

Along with Tachigaren, “it’s aboutthe only tool we have” for Aphano-myces management.

8 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

John Frisch

LaGrande, Ore., grower Guy Weishaar commonly rotates sugarbeets in behind mint.He’s shown here next to a pile of mint sludge, a byproduct of mint oil extraction. Thesludge is spread on fields to help protect against erosion from winter winds.






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Would longer rotations help slowthe disease? Some of Weishaar’s fieldsgo five to six years between beet crops.But Aphanomyces was evident even ina 2011 field that hadn’t been in sugar-beets for eight years. “So it’s spread-ing,” says Weishaar, who believes thatone conveyor of the disease inoculumis soil movement from consistent win-ter winds.

Other than the Aphanomyces issue,the Grande Ronde Valley has

proven to be a solid sugarbeet produc-tion area since beets were introducedin the early 1990s. Its growing seasonis shorter than that of the TreasureValley and Magic Valley, however,which does crimp yields a bit. Frischand Weishaar like to be planting beetsby April 15; but steady spring rainspushed that back this year — as far asto May 15, Frisch reports.

“We’re surrounded here by moun-tains,” Bill Wahlert explains. Alongwith a slightly later spring and earlierfall, the environment produces coolersummer nights — “and that helpssugar content.” On the down side,though, “because it is a little cooler, wejust don’t get as much growth” com-pared to the Treasure and Magic val-leys. (Tonnage commonly averages inthe upper 20s.) Late spring and/orearly fall frosts can also hamper beetdevelopment. “We usually figure ongetting a killing frost somewherearound the first full week in May,”Frisch says. “We had a light frost onJune 22 this year.” On the other endof the growing season, the first fallfrost in 2011, admittedly a spotty one,arrived on September 4.

Nitrogen management is anothercategory where Wahlert and area sug-arbeet growers are exploring and re-fining. Amalgamated’s local cropconsultants (who used to be called“fieldmen”) have been evaluatingwhether the company’s standardguideline of eight pounds of availablenitrogen per ton of expected yield isstill appropriate.

So Wahlert initiated evaluationplots. “With the high organic matterlevels here, the question is, ‘Do we getmore mineralization — and, if so, do Ineed to stick to that eight-pound stan-dard? Can we get by with six orseven?’ ” he asks. The 2010 resultssuggested that seven pounds per tonwas the most-efficient level. Prelimi-nary evaluation of his 2011 data sug-gests that somewhere between six andseven pounds produced the best yield.

Guy Weishaar applies less nitrogento his sugarbeets than most growers

— for a very good reason. Weishaar isa mint grower and follows mint withsugarbeets. “Mint is a shallow-rootedcrop and leaves quite a bit of nitrogenbehind, so I like to use the beets to godown and pick that up,” he explains.“In some years, I’ll apply just 50-80pounds [per acre] of nitrogen for thebeets because the rest of what theyneed is already down there.”

Weishaar also operates a mint oilextraction plant on his farm andspreads the mint sludge byproductacross fields as a form of cover againstwind erosion.

John Frisch is using a ridge-till ap-proach to help protect his fields. Hisbeets typically follow wheat, “and weleave all the straw; we don’t bail any-thing off,” he says. Building ridges inthe fall, coupled with all that wheatresidue, has proven an effectivemethod of over-winter erosion control.Plus, ridge tops dry out faster in thespring, facilitating a little earlierplanting date. Frisch believes that theridges also can be of benefit withAphanomyces by helping keep thebeets in them a little drier. — DonLilleboe �

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Super CommitteeThe implosion of the efforts of the Joint Deficit Reduc-

tion Committee (“Super Committee”) to cut the nation’sstaggering deficits and mounting debt have left voters en-gulfed in bewilderment. Members of Congress privatelyshared with us that they had hoped the Super Committeewould be successful, thus avoiding confirmation or rein-forcement of voters’ suspicions that the Congress is, inmany ways, dysfunctional.

The fact of the matter is that you cannot address thedeficit and debt issues without touching Medicare, Medi-caid, Social Security, defense and the current tax code.Every one of those issues is a political lightning rod withits own vocal and politically active base.

In the aftermath of the Super Committee’s failure toproduce any results, there is no clear path forward exceptto begin adjusting to across-the-board cuts throughoutthe government in 2013. In the meantime, congressionalleaders will have to assess both the political and eco-nomic fallout from the debacle. Politically, when Congresshas a 9% voter approval rating, there is not a lot of roomto fall — it is equivalent to plunging to the ground afterjumping out your basement window.

2012 Farm Bill The future of the 2012 Farm Bill is now in question.

The Joint Ag Committee (House and Senate ag chairsand ranking members) was the only authorizing commit-tee to come forward with a bipartisan plan to take a $23billion cut over 10 years with major changes in farm pol-icy. Congressional ag leaders should be applauded fortheir efforts, and hats off to staff who worked so dili-gently to put a bill together. In the end, the 2012 FarmBill was essentially all dressed up with no place to go.

Now what? Farmers need clarity and certainty as towhat the future holds for farm policy as preparation be-gins for planting the 2012 crop. The fact and the truth isthat there is no certain, clear path forward. If Congressdoes nothing, a farm bill will be written next spring andsummer in a brutal economic and political environment.If congressional leaders can engage the White House andcollectively find solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems,progress could be made — but it is a bit naïve to expectthat in an election year.

Congress still has a month to sort out what the nextsteps will be after a cooling-off period during the Thanks-giving holiday, when they will face voter reaction. Per-haps some of the political fog will clear and new optionsor opportunities will emerge. The one fundamental issueyou have to always remember is that Congress makes therules it plays by. As one former Appropriations chairmanused to say, “The rules are the rules until we change therules. Then those are the rules!” We will be watchingand monitoring the events in December very closely.

Roundup Ready SugarbeetsAs you know, the public commenting period on the

draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) ends onDecember 13. The industry has spent a good deal of timedigesting this comprehensive analysis and recommend-ing that the crop be deregulated once again. Manythanks go out to all of the growers and processor leaderswho spoke out at public meetings in Fargo, N.D., and Cor-vallis, Ore., to support the full deregulation of RRSB.Each of your comments is important, and we appreciateeach and every one of you who took the time and effort tosupport this important technology.

Once all of the comments are received, the draft EISwill be reviewed and perhaps modified before it is final-ized sometime next summer. In the meantime, litigationcontinues to proceed on schedule, and I will report on itonce it is timely and appropriate to do so.

Crop Insurance RMA has agreed to begin a pilot project to cover field

piles (“clamps”) in Michigan and southern Minnesotathrough the coverage period of November 15, startingwith the 2012 crop. We believe this will help all partiesreduce losses due to adverse weather during harvest.

2012 ASGA Annual MeetingMark your calendar to attend this meeting in sunny

Orlando, Fla., February 9-11 at the Walt Disney WorldSwan & Dolphin Hotel. Group rates will be offered untilJanuary 19. Program, destination and registration infor-mation are available on the ASGA website ( Register online before January 6 toavoid a $25 late registration fee. �



Luther Markwart


Vice President



Growers Assn.

10 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

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Page 12: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

2v THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) November/December 2011

USDA’s initial estimate of 2011 U.S.sugarbeet production placed this

year’s crop size at nearly 28.9 milliontons — about __% lower than the 2010production level of 31.9 million tons.The November report number wasbased on an average yield of 23.9 tonsoff 1,207,700 harvested acres.

The projected 2011 average yield is3.7 tons less than 2010’s excellent aver-age of 27.6 tons per acre. The 2011 har-vested acreage number is about 52,000above last year’s level.

At an estimated 9.01 million tons,Minnesota remains far and away thenation’s largest producer of sugarbeets.That number, however, is down sharplyfrom the state’s 2010 output of 11.73million tons. At 6.02 million tons, Idahoreclaims the number-two spot, followedby North Dakota at 4.74 million tonsand Michigan at a projected 3.67 mil-lion tons.

Four states — California, Idaho, Ne-braska and Wyoming — were expectedto end up producing more tons of beetsthis year than they did the prior year.

The next estimate of 2011 beet pro-duction will be released in January.

Sugarcane production for sugar andseed) in 2011 was pegged at 28.6 mil-lion tons, up from 2010’s 27.4 million. �

First USDA 2011 Crop EstimatePlaces Beet Production at 28.9 Million Tons








North Dakota



United States









































































U.S. Sugarbeet Production, Final 2010 & Initial 2011

Source: USDA-NASS November 2011

Area Harvested

(1,000 Acres)




(1,000 Tons)

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AgCountry Farm Credit Servicesis proud to serve the Red River Valleysugarbeet growers and processors.

We thank you for your contributionsand commitment to agriculture.

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The National Confectioners Association (NCA) — the lob-bying arm of the candy business — has a handy profile of

the U.S. confectionery industry on its website. And that pageposted a few facts that really stood out.

• “In 2010, NCA estimates that U.S. confectionery sales accounted for $29.4 billion, an increase of 2.8 percent over 2009.”

• “Confectionery manufacturers spend more than $4 billion on commodities each year.”

• This includes “more than 2.44 billion lbs of sugar at a cost of nearly $100 million.”

In other words, candy makers’ revenues are bringing innearly $30 billion a year, while they are only spending $4 bil-lion on commodities to make their product. Even more as-tounding is NCA’s admission that sugar only costs theindustry $100 million, or 2% of its commodity purchases.

With figures like that, it’s little wonder that NCA alsoposted these statements on its site about profitability in re-cent years.

• “Not only is confectionary a large product category . . .it is a high profit category.” January 2008

• “The retail profit margin is approximately 35% for the confectionery category.” May 2009

• “Confectionery [is] seen as a recession resistant category.” February 2010

• “Despite a shaky economy for the past two and half years, sales continue to increase an average of 3% per year, with a nearly 4% gain this past year.” March 2011

Jack Roney, economist with the American Sugar Alliance,says with the wide spread between revenue and cost, it

seems odd that NCA has spent so much time and moneylately on Capitol Hill lobbying for the annihilation of a sugarpolicy under which they are thriving.

This policy operates at no cost to taxpayers because sugarfarmers don’t receive government subsidy checks, but largecandy companies allege it leads to sugar prices that are toohigh.

If it has led to higher prices, it certainly hasn’t slowedthese companies’ economic growth. Since the current U.S.sugar policy took hold in 2008, candy production in theUnited States has grown 2.5%, according to the U.S. CensusBureau. Roney also notes that U.S. candy companies are ex-panding their U.S. facilities and adding jobs.

“According to NCA’s figures, sugar costs represent justone-third of 1% of the confectionery industry’s revenue,”Roney says. “If true, that’s simply amazing.”

Although, Roney has some question about the accuracy ofthis figure. “I would have thought that figure would havebeen closer to $1 billion,” he explains, “which is still minis-cule and just 3% of confection revenue.”

Regardless of the right answer, Roney hopes Congresswill take note. “Clearly, sugar isn’t expensive,” he concludes.“Using NCA’s own numbers, it’s obvious they are thriving —and sugar has one of the few government policies out therethat doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime.” �

4v THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) November/December 2011

Numbers Indicate CandyCompanies Doing FineCommentary from the American Sugar Alliance

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011 11

Vertical Tiller Saves Fuel and Chemicals —“Over one-fifth of the energy used in North Dakota agri-culture is consumed for tillage operations. Recently,new reduced tillage equipment has been introduced forsugarbeet and other row crop production that cold re-duce fuel consumption for tillage by approximately 50percent, according to Jerry Fitts, extension sugarbeetspecialist at North Dakota State University.“The new equipment is a vertical-action power ro-

tary tiller with eight L-shaped knives which can inter-till strips eight inches wide and up to four inches deepin small grain stubble, Fitts said. . . . “Producers perform an average of six tillage opera-

tions in the fall. These include moldboardplow, chisel plow, offset disk, fieldcultivator, multiweeder, and landleveler operations. According toFits, with the new vertical-actiontiller the grower can reduce thesetillage operations to once in the fall.Computerized budget analysis showsthat the ‘conventional’ tillage systemusing the six operations mentionedearlier utilizes approximately 21 gal-lons of diesel fuel per acre. The ‘re-duced tillage’ system, using thevertical-action tiller, utilizes approxi-mately 10 gallons of fuel per acre, a 50percent savings in fuel consumption.“The new piece of equipment can also

be used to apply chemical and granularmaterials, he continued. Nozzles andboxes have been installed on the equip-ment which deposit these materials di-rectly into the 8-inch strips. ‘This means an additionalsavings in chemicals as well as fuel,’ Fitts said, ‘becauseyou are only applying them to the 8-inch strip instead ofbroadcasting them over a 22-inch row as in the conven-tional system.’ ”

Valley Growers Harvest Third Largest Crop —“[Red River] Valley [American] Crystal growers har-vested the third largest crop in history on a gross ton-nage basis with 5,170,000 tons of beets purchased.Average [tonnage] per acre of 18.6 ranks second to the19.5 tons per acre record of 1978.“Larger gross tonnages were recorded in 1977

(5,295,000 tons) and 1978 (5,895,000 tons), but camefrom 304,000 acres. The 1981 crop was harvested fromthe reduced acreage now in effect.”

Sweetener Approved — “Aspartame, a low-caloriesweetener has been accepted by the Food and Drug Ad-ministration for use in a variety of foods, Food Engineer-ing reports. The product was developed by G.D. Searle& Co. for use as a tabletop sweetener and as an ingredi-ent in dry food products.“Aspartame may be used as a low-calorie sweetener

in powdered soft drinks, presweetened breakfast cere-als, chewing gum, dry gelatin mixes, desserts and top-pings, and [in] presweetened coffees and teas. It cannotbe used in baked goods, however, because the compoundbreaks down under the high temperatures required forbaking.”

For Processors Who Are Wet-Milling Corn . . .The Time Is Right — “Through 1980, the industry hasexpanded its production. But the development of thenew HFCS 55 percent fructose content product, lastyear’s high sugar prices, and last year’s decision by

major soft drink companies to replacesome of the sugar in their products withHFCS, has changed the industry’s out-look. The word is expansion, and the in-dustry can handle it.“There are currently 26 corn wet-

milling plants operating, or soon to beoperating, in the U.S. Seventeen havebeen built since 1960. All of theplants are modern facilities, ready toprocess corn efficiently. And, accord-ing to Robert Barry, USDA sugarspecialist, HFCS capacity is ex-pected to expand between 75 to 80percent between 1980 and 1985.“ ‘Wet-milling corn has many

benefits,’ Barry says. ‘Diversity isthe most obvious.’ Wet-milledcorn can be used in five major

product categories: starches, corn syrups,dextrose, HFCS, and corn by-products such as corngluten feed, meal, and corn oil. Some processors are in-terested in adding a sixth — ethanol.”

Facts About Sugar in the 1981 General FarmBill — “The USDA reports that had there been no U.S.sugar industry during the most recent worldwide short-age, the world price of sugar would have been increased‘several hundred percent.’ . . .“The balance of payment deficit [accounted] for by

sugar imports in 1980 approximated $2 billion. Had thenation’s total sugar requirements come from imports,the balance of payments deficit would have been at least$4.7 billion (and quite likely substantially more). . . .“The U.S. is a rarity among sugar producing and con-

suming nations because it has no long-range policy forsugar. . . .“A loan program covering sugar crops would not be a

departure from programs covering other commoditiesand is justified by the same reasoning as applied to sup-port programs for other crops. . . .“A loan program for sugar would not require set

asides (it is a deficit-produced crop); would not requiredirect payments (returns to farmers would come fromthe market); would not require on-farm storage (sugarwill be stored by cane or beet processors). . . .” �

30 Years Ago Excerpts from theDecember 1981 Issue ofThe Sugarbeet Grower

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The 2011 sugarbeet harvest markedthe second year of an innovative —

and successful — beet loading and stor-age project involving growers and staffof Michigan Sugar Company. In thisproject, which has been conducted inthe co-op’s Sandusky and Bay City,Mich., and Dover, Ont., districts, partic-ipating growers dump their harvestedbeets on field edges. A Ropa ‘Maus’machine cleans the beets before theyare loaded into trucks and transportedto the piling station. There, a “stacker”conveyor places the already-cleanedbeets into standard long-term storagepiles. The stacker is essentially a stan-dard beet piler on which the grab-rollcleaning bed and dirt belt system havebeen bypassed or removed.Michigan Sugar’s goal for 2010 was

to stack 50,000 tons of beets using thissystem. By harvest’s end, more than60,000 tons had been cleaned by Mausmachines and stacked at the two sites.In 2011, more than 135,000 tons werecleaned and stacked — nearly 72,000at Dover and 43,000-plus at Sandusky.An additional 20,000-plus tons werestacked at a third site west of Bay City.The cooperative initially considered

— and still considers — this to be a re-

search project. “From a physiologicalstandpoint, beet roots undergo a rest-storage phase once they are har-vested,” points out Keith Kalso,agricultural manager for MichiganSugar’s Croswell factory district. “Re-moving roots from this phase usually‘wakes them up,’ causing respiration,heat and then rotting. The theorybeing tested has been to pile the cropvery briefly in the field (three days orless), clean off soil in the field with theMaus cleaner/loader — and then imme-diately place the beets into ‘stackerpiles’ for long-term storage.”The concept being tested, Kalso ex-

plains, is whether moving the beetswithin that three-day period would besoon enough so that they wouldn’tenter the “rest-storage” phase. So far,that seems to be the case. There wereno deterioration issues last year, andthe company is confident the story willbe the same this storage period. Dur-ing the 2010/11 processing campaign,recovery of the stacker piles was inten-tionally delayed until mid-January

since the piles were storing so well. Asin 2010, “we have temperature sensorsin both stacked piles (i.e., Sanduskyand Dover), so we’re watching tempera-tures very closely,” Kalso notes regard-ing this year’s project. (For comparisonpurposes, conventional piles have been“wired” as well.) He adds that most ofthe 2011 beets ended up being stackedwithin 24 to 36 hours after being har-vested, so they’re well within thatthree-day window.The Sandusky stacking operation

has loaded out field beets from theRuth and Ubly vicinities, utilizing aMaus owned by growers Chris Guzaand Les and Doug Volmering. Thisgrower group also hauls the cleanedbeets from their fields to the stackerpiler at Sandusky, averaging about 40tons per load.The Dover operation has utilized a

commercial trucking company con-tracted by Michigan Sugar. One reasonfor doing so was the consistency of thatfleet. “Because the dumping parts oftheir trucks were similar, we couldmatch our conveyor configuration to fit;if we have a fleet of 25 trucks, they’reall the same,” Kalso notes. The On-tario fleet averaged about 43 tons perload. Dover growers paid the freight toget their beets from the field to the pil-ing site.The 2011 stacking operation west of

Bay City relied on grower Allen Moore,owner of a Maus, who coordinated withseveral other area growers.“The biggest [potential bottleneck]

is not the stacker,” Kalso adds. “It’strucks. You need a lot of trucks, be-cause the Maus has capacity to cleanand load up to 400-500 tons per hour.”

Michigan Sugar’s plan is to conductthe stacked pile research project

for one more year on a limited basis, domore intensive storage studies — andthen expand the Maus/stacker conceptto other piling sites, assuming all signsare favorable.The expansion is limited by not

knowing the sustainability of thestacking and storage of the beets, Kalsosays. “Quite a few growers are inter-ested in buying a Maus; but we don’twant to go ‘too big too fast’ right now.If for some reason the beets don’t storewell, we don’t want to be sitting with alot of problems in the piles.” He em-phasizes, though, that to date thestacked beets have stored just as wellas the conventionally piled ones. “Butthat’s the reason we’re watching inter-nal pile temperatures so closely,” hepoints out.Michigan had a wet fall in 2011 —

Stacking UpMichigan Sugar Experiments With FieldCleaning & Stacking of Beets for Storage

12 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

Above: The beet stacker in action at the Michigan Sugar piling

station near Dover, Ont.

Photo: Keith Kalso

Page 17: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011
Page 18: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

which favors in-field cleaning. “Whenthey sit for a day or two, the soil dries abit and comes off easier,” Kalso notes.“That’s a nice advantage since that dirtis not being trucked to the piling site; itstays in the field. We were very pleasedwith how that worked this fall.” In the end, Kalso says the field-

cleaned/stacking approach promises

several benefits for both grower andthe sugar cooperative? From the grower’s vantage point, it

boils down to:• Reducing freight cost due to less

dirt/mud being hauled.• Shorter lines at the piling yard.• No cross-contamination of soil at

the piler.

• Less or no road mud.• Perhaps a need for fewer trucks.• A partial “disconnect” between

digging and piling, so one can harvestat his own desired pace.• The Maus adjusts better than do

pilers to field conditions for cleaning.From the company standpoint,

stacking’s benefits would include:• Shorter lines at the piling yard.• Tare dirt remains in the field.• The Maus is gentler on the beets

compared to standard pilers.• Less labor is required to operate

stackers.• Grower shares responsibility for

cleaning the crop.• Converting older pilers to stack-

ers is less expensive than purchasingnew pilers.So are there any downsides to this

method of cleaning and piling sugar-beets. Yes, a few. For the grower, fieldpiles need to be accessible — regard-less of what the weather is like. Also,the field’s tare soil ends up in a more-concentrated area. Finally, company agmanagement controls the schedule, sothat can translate into less flexibility.From the company’s standpoint, the

field cleaning/stacking process does re-quire intense management. If beetsfreeze before going into the pile, thatwould cause problems. And finally,there’s the pressure to move thosebeets into the pile within that three-day window.To date, though, the positives have

far outweighed any negatives, Kalso re-iterates. One more year of researchshould go a long way toward determin-ing if indeed this method of cleaningand storing sugarbeets becomes awidespread practice for MichiganSugar Company and its growers. —Don Lilleboe �

14 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

Left: A Ropa Maus unit cleans beets andloads a truck at field’s edge for the trip tothe piling site stacker.

Photo: Keith Kalso

Page 19: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

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Page 20: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

Though hard hit by job loss duringthe last decade and a half, the U.S.

sugar industry still generates more

than 142,000 direct and indirect jobsand almost $20 billion in annual rev-enues.That was the bottom line of a study

released during the American SugarAlliance’s 28th International Sweet-ener Symposium, held in August. Thestudy — conducted by LMC Interna-tional, a global commodity researchfirm headquartered in London — wasan update of a report outlining thesugar industry as of 1993/94. At thattime, the numbers were 248,000 jobsand $10 billion in annual economic im-pact. Low prices in past years appearto be the culprit for the downfall in job,ASA noted, but a recent price recoveryaccounts for the gain in expenses.“Sugar prices were so low between

1994 and 2008 that companies wereforced to close 37 beet or cane millsacross the country,” said Jack Roney,ASA’s director of economics and policyanalysis. The good news, Roney added,is that the job loss problem appears tohave corrected itself for now, thanks inpart to the no-cost sugar policy en-acted by Congress in 2008. Under thatpolicy, fewer sugar plants have closedthan during any period in the last 20years.“In rural areas where beets and

cane are grown and processed, thesejobs are the life blood of many commu-nities,” Roney said. “In urban areaswhere cane refineries are located,these good-paying jobs are crucial aswell, especially in the tough economic

situation the United States now findsitself in.”Despite past plant closures, produc-

ers’ improved efficiency enabled themto sustain sugar production levels. Ac-cording to LMC data, U.S. productionof sugar per worker grew from 119tons in 1993/94 to 216 tons in 2009/10— an 80% increase.LMC examined the jobs associated

directly with the planting, cultivatingand harvesting of sugarbeets and sug-arcane, the processing of the beets andcane, and the refining of raw canesugar. It then used U.S. Department ofCommerce multipliers to estimate thenumber of indirect jobs generated bythe U.S. sugar industry. Sugarbeets are grown in 11 states

and sugarcane in four. Cane sugar re-fineries are located in six states.

Another new LMC study released atthe International Sweetener Sym-

posium indicated that U.S. sugar pro-ducers are among the most efficient inthe world. Of the 95 sugar-producing coun-

tries or regions examined, the UnitedStates is more efficient than 75 ofthem, LMC found. In fact, Americansare ranked the world’s most efficientbeet sugar producers.LMC updates global cost of produc-

tion figures regularly, and the currentU.S. ranking — 20th lowest cost out of95 — is its best ever.“Critics suggest the U.S. sugar in-

dustry is not efficient because thereare restraints on the amount of subsi-dized foreign sugar that can enter thecountry. This study proves we areamong the world’s most efficient andlowest-cost producers,” stated ASA’sJack Roney. “Import restraints are inplace in the U.S., as in most sugar-pro-ducing countries, because the worldsugar market is polluted with substan-dard production practices, low laborand environmental standards, andhuge trade distortions.”LMC measures efficiency by adding

the cost of producing sugar in the fieldto the cost of extracting sugar frombeets and cane at the mill. Productioncosts vary by seed variety and fieldpractices, degree of mechanization, useof technology and labor and environ-mental standards. According to theLMC data, the United States hasdropped from slightly above-averagecost in 2002/03 to well below the worldaverage in 2010/11. �

142,000+ Jobs & $20 Billion in Revenue

16 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

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Page 21: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

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Page 22: The Sugarbeet Grower - Nov Dec 2011

Metzger, Borud Now in NewAg Positions at Minn-Dak Co-op

Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative an-nounced last summer the promotion oftwo agriculturists to new positionswithin the co-op.Michael Metzger was selected to fill

the newly created position of researchagronomist with Minn-Dak. Metzger,who earned an M.S. degree in plantpathology from North Dakota StateUniversity, is working on his Ph.D. Hehas been at Minn-Dak since 2001.Mark Borud moved to the new posi-

tion of ag operations manager. In thatpost, he is responsible for ag equipmentoperators, the truck shop, the beettransfer fleet and piler repair for theWahpeton, N.D.-based cooperative.Borud, who has a bachelor’s degree inagricultural economics from NDSU, hasbeen with Minn-Dak since 2004.Greg Krause and Blake Buck took

over the agriculturist duties that hadbeen held by Metzger and Borud.Krause, an NDSU graduate in ag sys-tems management, previously workedfor Dakota Ag Co-op. Buck, a generalagriculture graduate of NDSU, previ-ously worked for Dupont-Pioneer.

Amalgamated’s Sugar Now SoldBy National Sugar MarketingAmalgamated Sugar Company has,

since last summer, been marketing itssugar through a new firm named Na-tional Sugar Marketing LLC. The firmis a joint venture developed by Amalga-mated and Sucden Americas Corpora-tion, a French-based sugar tradingcompany with U.S. headquarters inFlorida.National Sugar Marketing has ex-

clusive rights to sell all the refinedsugar marketed by both Amalgamatedand Sucden in the United States.

Amalgamated, the nation’s secondlargest beet sugar processor, producesmore than 900,000 tons of sugar annu-ally. Sucden has a worldwide presenceof 8 to 10 million tons annually. Sugar being sold by the new market-

ing firm is sourced from the UnitedStates, Mexico and the countries thatare part of the Central America FreeTrade Agreement (CAFTA): Costa Rica,El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.Bill Smith is the president and CEO

of National Sugar Marketing, whosecreation made it one of the top five U.S.sugar marketers. Smith has more than35 years of experience in the U.S. sugarindustry. He held various positionswith Savannah Foods in Georgia priorto coming to Amalgamated 15 years agoas the company’s vice president of salesand marketing

50th International SugarbeetInstitute Set for March 14 & 15The 2012 International Sugarbeet

Institute is scheduled for March 14 and15 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks,N.D. Next year’s event marks the 50thanniversary of ISBI — the largest sug-arbeet industry trade show in NorthAmerica.Companies desiring preliminary ex-

hibiting information for the 2012 Inter-national Sugarbeet Institute cancontact exhibits coordinator Bob Cour-nia at (218) 281-4681. Other ISBI-re-lated inquiries should be directed to Dr.Mohamed Khan, organizing committeechairman, at (701) 231-8596.

Well-Known Sugar Analyst Peter Buzzanell Passes AwayPeter J. Buzzanell, a well-known fig-

ure in the U.S. sugar industry and aregular contributor to The SugarbeetGrower, died on October 5 after a longillness involving liver disease. Peter worked for more than 25 years

as an agricultural economist with theUSDA in Washington, D.C., and over-seas, including a period as leader of thesweetener analysis unit of USDA’s Eco-nomic Research Service. Following re-tirement, he worked as an internationalagricultural consultant and as a historyand government substitute teacher in

the Fairfax County Public School sys-tem in Virginia. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps,

Peter was awarded the Bronze Star andNavy Commenda-tion Medals withCombat “V”s forsaving the lives offellow Marinesduring the Viet-nam War. He alsowas proud of hisactions to save thelives of Vietnamesecivilians during

combat operations in Vietnam. After military service, Peter earned

his undergraduate degree from the Uni-versity of Hawaii, with honors, andthen went on to earn master’s degreesfrom the University of Florida and theJohns Hopkins University School of Ad-vanced International Studies.

NipsIt SUITE Sugarbeet SystemIntroduced by Valent U.S.A.Valent U.S.A. Corporation an-

nounced in September the availabilityof the NipsIt™ SUITE Sugarbeet Sys-tem. NipsIt SUITE combines threesuper-systemic active ingredients into asingle offer: leading-edge insect man-agement tool NipsIt INSIDE® insecti-cide and two powerful fungicides — thenewly registered METLOCK™ fungicideand metalaxyl, the industry standardagainst Pythium. The three come to-gether to bring unsurpassed plant pro-tection against yield-robbing insectssuch as sugarbeet root maggot, spring-tail and wireworm, and diseases suchas Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Pythium.Through its super-systemic ingredi-

ents, NipsIt SUITE provides growersboth contact and systemic protectionwhen it matters most. “Sugarbeets canundergo significant pressure early inthe season from diseases and insects,which can eventually affect crop qualityand yield,” notes Jay Stroh, Valent seedprotection marketing manager. “Asboth a systemic and contact protectant,NipsIt SUITE Sugarbeets uniquely de-livers sugarbeet growers ‘inside outprotection’ — meaning a proven defenseagainst sugarbeet seed and seedlingpests both below and above theground.” �

Around The Industry

18 THE SUGARBEET GROWER November/December 2011

Mike Metzger Mark BorudPeter Buzzanell

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