LOVELL (WNE) — Cooler and wetter conditions this summer have led a late harvest as local farmers attempt to regain footing after seeing last year’s crop devastated by hail.
According to Western Sugar Cooperative’s local agronomist Mark Bjornestead, a cool wet May and June hindered the growth of sugar beets and other local crops.
The result, an early harvest held later than usual. Beet trucks would have usually made their first trips to local farmers by now. This year, trucks won’t be rumbling beets back to the factory until September 16, with the regular factory campaign being pushed to October 6.
“This year has been kind of unique in the sense of the overall moisture and the climate in May and June, it’s usually warmer and drier,” Bjornestad said. “The impact is that we typically would be processing now. We decided to delay processing for two weeks. It doesn’t really have any impact on the factory. We’re just not operating until a week from Monday.”
Crop quality should not be impacted, Bjornestad said. Fully grown beets would normally be ready by now, but when they are grown enough to harvest, they should still carry the average amount of sugar, Bjornestad said, projected to hit 17 to 18 percent in October. The weather just has to cooperate.