TWIN FALLS, Idaho — An Idaho company is expecting record sugar beet crops to yield nearly 40 tons per acre in the Magic Valley this year.
Farmers began digging crops Sept. 8, and Amalgamated Sugar Co. has since processed 80,000 tons for its White Satin sugar brand, the Times-News reported (http://bit.ly/1Vd0oVC ).
The company's Twin Falls district agriculture manager, Dave Scantlin, said sugar beets are being harvested as fast as the factory can process them. Harvest typically begins after cool temperatures have triggered sugar production in the root of the plant. This controlled harvest began in early September and will end Oct. 6, when the regular harvest begins.
"When I started with the company 17 years ago, 30 tons per acre was an extremely good crop," Scantlin said.
The company plans to run until the sugar beets are gone, typically in March.
"Sugar content is very good," Scantlin said. "We've received 16, 17, and some 18 percent sugar content already this year."
Sugar beet crops yielded an average of 37.1 tons per acre in 2014, up almost 1 ton from the year before. Idaho's 2014 sugar beet crop was valued at $335 million.
More than half of the sugar produced in America comes from sugar beets, and Idaho is the nation's second-largest producer of the variety. Growers in the Gem State plant about 175,000 acres of sugar beets each year.
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com