Harvest starts Monday, Sept. 9; four factories get going Tuesday, Sept. 10
BAY CITY – Michigan Sugar Company is set to begin its 2019-2020 sugarbeet harvest on Monday, Sept. 9, with beets being received at the company’s factories in Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing.
All four factories are scheduled to start the annual slicing campaign on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Company officials are predicting a 185- to 190-day campaign this year with processing wrapping up sometime between March 10-15.
“We had a very challenging spring due to wet weather and field conditions that created great variability across our growing region,” said Jim Ruhlman, Executive Vice President for Michigan Sugar Company, adding the company was able to plant 154,000 acres of sugarbeets – 3,000 acres less than originally planned. “Some of our nearly 900 grower-owners were able to plant beets in March, while others had to wait until June. The result is a crop that continues to show great variability.”
That said, Ruhlman noted some positive results of pre-harvest samples taken in late August.
The 200 samples tested showed an average sugar content of 17.07%, the highest pre-harvest sample quality in eight years. Stand count – the average number of beets in a 100-yard row – came in at 213, also an eight-year high.
Average yield in the pre-harvest sample was 19.34 tons per acre, less than similar samples taken last year that showed yields of 23.29 tons per acre. The lower tonnage this year is due to lack of moisture in August as the beets began to mature and put on weight. Michigan Sugar Company’s estimated yield, dependent on adequate rainfall in the coming weeks, is 27.5 tons per acre, down from last year’s final yield of 29.3 tons per acre. That equates to more than 4.2 million tons expected for delivery.
“We can certainly use some rain over the next few weeks, but the good news is we have an incredibly healthy crop,” he said, noting last year’s battle with leafspot disease. “Our growers have simply done a phenomenal job.”
As Michigan Sugar Company gets ready for another season of sugarbeet processing, it has begun hiring campaign employees. To learn more about available jobs and to apply, go to www.michigansugar.com and click on the “Careers” link.
On the Road Again
Finally, Michigan Sugar Company reminds motorists that the start of sugarbeet processing means sugarbeet trucks will once again be on the road hauling our sweet crop from farm fields to factories and piling stations throughout the area.
About Michigan Sugar Company
Michigan Sugar Company was founded in 1906 when six smaller sugar companies merged their operations. In 2002, Michigan Sugar Company became a grower-owned cooperative and in 2004, we merged with Monitor Sugar Company to form the company that exists today.
Michigan Sugar Company is headquartered in Bay City and we have sugarbeet processing facilities in Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing, Michigan. Our nearly 900 grower-owners plant and harvest up to 160,000 acres of sugarbeets each year in 20 Michigan counties, as well as Ontario, Canada. Those beets are sliced at our factories and turned into about 1.3 billion pounds of sugar annually.
Our sugar is sold to industrial, commercial and retail customers under the Pioneer and Big Chief brands.
Michigan Sugar Company has 930 year-round employees and an additional 1,100 seasonal workers. We are the No. 1 employer in Huron County, the No. 2 employer in Bay and Sanilac counties and the No. 3 employer in Tuscola County. Our annual payroll is more than $65 million and our annual local economic impact is about $500 million.
Michigan Sugar Company is the third largest of nine sugarbeet processing companies in the United States and Michigan is one of 11 states where sugarbeets are grown in the country.
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