Sugar beets bounce back

Feb 9, 2012

The Western Sugar Cooperative’s Lovell facility is working day and night to process an unexpectedly abundant yield of sugar beets from this fall.

Wyoming beet farmers harvest their crops in October, and in a normal year, processing would wrap up about now. But super cooperative beets in 2011 were exceptionally large, yielding almost 29 tons of sugar per acre. That’s a two-and-a-half ton increase from the year before.

It’s a relief for Glen Reed, who raises sugar beets in Cody. He said an autumn cold snap in 2009 ruined about 40 percent of his crop.

“We had about 4 days in the teens it just froze the beet crop and froze the ground too. And so the beets that were exposed froze and compromised their ability to be able to be put in long-term storage.”

Reed says he’s happy with the turn of events, and isn’t looking back.

“Any farmer will tell you that when you put the seed in the ground, you’re gonna roll the dice, and 75 percent of what comes out in the fall has more to do with Mother nature than what we do.”

Reed will begin planting a new crop on April 5.