|Beet harvest getting underway|
|Local Content - Local Agriculture|
|Written by Garrett Simmons|
|Tuesday, 18 September 2012 23:25|
It may be cliche, but it’s true — sugar beets are sure looking sweet this year.
With harvest about to get underway, one of southern Alberta’s most iconic crops will soon be plucked from the sandy soil and prepared for it’s journey through the Lantic Sugar factory in Taber.
“We’re planning on going this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday — that’s our target date,” said Lantic’s Andrew Llewelyn- Jones, who added there should be plenty of beets coming in to keep factory workers busy. “We should have above-average yields. For quality, we don’t know until we get going, but yield-wise we should be around 25-26 tonnes, in that range.”
That is well above the crop’s historical average, according to Llewelyn-Jones, and better than last year’s 23 tonnes per acre.
He added conditions worked out perfect for growers this year, despite a season which started ominously yet again.
“It was a cool spring. The beets got off to a slow start, but we did plant them earlier. They emerged slow but once the heat came, they really took off well.”
That heat has continued into this month, which Llewelyn-Jones said has provided more solid growing conditions. And since growers opted to push back the start of harvest for a week, according to Llewelyn- Jones, that just gave the crop another week to mature, as Lantic waits to fire up its operation.
“We were prepared to go Thursday this week and start the factory next Wednesday,” said Llewelyn-Jones, who added the response Lantic received from growers indicated other crops were higher on their priority list this week for harvest.
Once harvest does begin next week, Llewelyn-Jones said the factory expects sugar production levels to be very similar to last year, when 33,000 acres were seeded, compared to 30,000 acres this year.
“We have a higher yield this year, so we should have the same total volumes as last year.”
Llewelyn-Jones added he expects the factory in Taber will be in operation until late January of early February, 2013.