Photo Profile: Harvesting UNL Sugar Beet Research Plots

Photo Profile: Harvesting UNL Sugar Beet Research Plots

Oct. 14, 2011

Harvest of sugarbeet research plots was underway this week at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center.  UNL specialists conduct research on irrigation, weed control, soils/fertility, plant pathology, entomology, and systems engineering in field plots at the Panhandle Center.  The following photos tell their story. (Photos by Gary Stone)
Sugarbeet harvest, UNL PREC, October, 2011
It takes a crew of seven to nine staff to harvest each of the various research plots: one to drive the puller and one the defoliator, one to tell the puller driver when to start and stop in the plot area, one to keep track of the plot map and ID tags for the sample bags, one to guide the puller wheels over the beet row, one to pick trash and dump the weigh tank, one or two to pull sample beets out of the weigh tank, and one to tie the sample bags.
Sugar beet harvest, UNL PREC, October 2011
During the defoliation and scalping operation, staff strive to remove all leaf and petiole material and scalp only the very top of the root.
Sugar beet harvest, UNL PREC, October 2011
Beet crews anxiously wait to enter the field with the harvestor following the defoliation operation. A crew of eight to nine manage the operations and help with yield assessments from the harvestor.
Sugar beet harvest, UNL PREC, October 2011
For the plots, two rows of beets and a given length of row are pulled/harvested, weighed, and samples taken. Beets travel up the chain link elevator and are dropped onto a scale and weighed. A subsample is pulled from each plot to evaluate sugar content and tare.
Sugar beet harvest at the Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff
The remaining beets in the weigh tank are then dumped into the main hopper on the puller. Once the hopper is full, the beets are transferred to a truck and transpoprted to the factory where they are dumped and stored in piles to be processed into sugar at a later date.