Neb. Sugarbeet Crop Thriving In Drought
While many crops in the panhandle are suffering from drought stress, one crop is excelling. Last week Western Sugar Cooperative Agriculturists collected root samples to calculate the yield outlook for the crop. In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, Area Ag Manager Jerry Darnell is amazed by the results. Western Sugar is forecasting the area crop will average 28 point 9 ton per acre, the best crop in the ground in the cooperatives history. Western Sugar is forecasting area growers will produce 1 million 369 thousand ton to slice - making it the best crop ever for the North Platte Valley.
Currently Nebraska is averaging eight ton per acre. Last year in one wettest years the crop was averaging 2.2 ton per acre. Several factors are helping this year's crop perform so well. Darnell says the hot dry weather has helped the crop grow faster and with limited thunderstorms there is less damage than a normal year. A year ago 22 thousand acres of sugar beets had sustained damage. In comparison to this year, Darnell says this year a little more than 4 thousand acres of hail damage.
The drought doesn't seem to be having a huge impact on the crop, but Darnell says this is dependent growers getting water to the crop early on in the growing season. With the unseasonably hot weather, the top concern for the crop is cercopora leaf spot.
The favorable growing conditions are extending throughout the 4-state cooperative. Darnell says Western Sugar is forecasting yields of 34 ton per acre in northern Colorado, 32 ton per acre in Montana and 31 ton per acre in northern Wyoming. The four-state cooperative will average over 30 ton per acre. Darnell says that will be a all-time record for Western Sugar Cooperative. The excellent news means there will be full campaigns for cooperative's five sugar factories.
Western Sugar Cooperative will take its second sample of the year on August 2nd. At that point Darnell says cooperative will evaluate both yield and sugar content.
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