Drought, acreage reductions issues for sugar growers

As members of the Nebraska Non Sugar Beet Growers Association hold their annual meeting today, the organization's President says there is concern about continued drought and how that will impact the beginning stages of the growing season.

Darby Jesperson of Hemingford says having enough soil moisture to even get the crop started is a worry. Jesperson says the concern is the worst for those using flood irrigation, but even for those with pivots who draw water from wells, there is still apprehension

Jesperson say some wet snows and timely rains are needed so growers feel confident in planting their crop this spring.

Jesperson says the other big issue is acreage reduction. Despite the fact 100% of last year's record crop was processed, Western Sugar is reducing the production acres for each share a grower owns to 87% of the maximum.

Jesperson says part of the reason for acreage reduction is the fact the record crop produced carryover sugar that has not been sold. Jesperson says there are farmers who feel the reduction cuts into their profitability. But with sugar prices declining, Jesperson says some growers are happy they have other options to plant corn and beans on the reduced acres.

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