Sugarbeets are a major contributor to the U.S. sweetener industry, and occur in a vast range of different food products. Of the current world production of more than 130 million metric tons of sugar, about 35% comes from sugarbeet and 65% from sugar cane. In the USA, about 50-55% of the domestic production of about 8.4 million metric tons derives from sugarbeet.
In North America, 11 states and two provinces are involved with sugar beet production, in regions as diverse as the upper Midwest (Minnesota and North Dakota), the far west (California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington), the Great Plains (Colorado, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, and Alberta), and the Great Lakes (Michigan and Ontario).
Sugar beets in Nebraska
Sugar production in Nebraska began in 1890, with the first factory being established in Grand Island. Production moved into western Nebraska and the Panhandle early in the 20th century, due in large part because of increasingly severe problems with Cercospora leaf spot.
Nebraska currently ranks 6th in the U.S. in production and generally ranges between 45,000-60,000 acres planted per year, with a high of 80,000 in 2000. Sugar beets are additionally a very important crop economically and are estimated to contribute more than $130,000,000 to the local economy through payrolls, property taxes, and other impacts.
Western Sugar Cooperative
The Great Western Sugar Company brought the sugar industry into Colorado in 1901 before expanding into Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. After undergoing several different changes of ownership, the Western Sugar Cooperative was formed in December of 2002 consisting of more than 1,000 growers in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. The Cooperative today operates throughout these four diverse states with approximately 135,000 base acres. Western Sugar currently operates processing plants at Scottsbluff, NE, Billings, MT, Lovell and Torrington, WY, and Fort Morgan, CO. Storage facilities are additionally located at Greely, Rocky Ford, Sterling, and Longmont, CO, and Gering and Mitchell, NE. Like its impact in Nebraska, sugar beets contribute substantially to the economies within the four state growing region. During 2007, the record $700 million paid to producers generated about $4.9 billion as it moved throughout those communities.
Will zone till work for sugarbeets in 22-inch rows?
Sponsored by UNL Extension and Western Sugar Cooperative
Will zone-tillage machines work for sugarbeets in narrower, 22-inch rows in heavy corn residue and wheat stubble? That was the question behind an on-farm demonstration in May 2010 in Box Butte County, NE, in which zone tillage machines from six manufacturers were operated in real-world conditions. Each machine was 12 rows wide with 22-inch row spacing. Couldn't make it to the field day? Just click to watch videotaped comments from manufacturers' representatives, local growers, Western Sugar Cooperative Agriculturalists, and John Smith, Machinery Systems Engineer.
Sugarbeet Seed Calculator
This interactive web page is designed to calculate how much seed you will need for a particular field, a particular variety, part of a field for a particular variety, or for your entire crop.
You have two calculator options, depending on your choice of input. Calculator “A” requires you to input your row spacing, the seed spacing you will plant, and the number of acres for this particular combination of variety and field size. Calculator “B” requires you to input your row spacing, your target established plant population, your estimate of percent emergence in this particular field, and the number of acres for this particular combination of variety and field.
You can enter new information and perform the calculation again for as many combinations as you want. You can also print out the results with input information for each calculation.