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‘Serving The Nation’s Sugarbeet Community Since 1963’ Volume 52 Number 2 February 2013

Page 20

Sugar Publications 4601 16th Ave. N. Fargo, ND 58102 Phone: (701) 476-2111 Fax: (701) 476-2182 E-Mail: sugar@forumprinting.com Web Site: www.sugarpub.com Publisher: Sugar Publications General Manager & Editor: Don Lilleboe Advertising Manager: Heidi Wieland (701) 476-2003 Graphics: Forum Communications Printing

Page 6

— Feature Articles — New Beet Pulp Uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 USDA researchers develop biodegradable thermoplastic

Homemade Stingers Protect Young Beets . . . . . . . . 6 Minnesota brothers’ solution costs virtually nothing

Minn. & N.D. Grower Practices Survey Excerpts . . . . 9 Highlights from annual survey

Does Sidedressing Pay? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Summary of two-year Red River Valley study

Midwest Grower Idea Contest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Sugarbeet Grower is published six times annually (January, February, March, April/May, July/August, November/December) by Sugar Publications, a division of Forum Communications Printing. North American sugarbeet producers receive the magazine on a complimentary basis. Annual subscription rates are $12.00 domestic and $18.00 for foreign subscribers. Advertising in The Sugarbeet Grower does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular product or service by the publisher.

Visit Our Website!

www.sugarpub.com http://www.facebook.com/SugaPub

Looking back at a quarter century of creativity

Newer Growers Off to Strong Start With Strip-Tilled Beets . 20 Tibbetts brothers from Sidney Sugars area

— Regular Pages —

— Front Cover —

Dateline: Washington . . . . . . . . . . 10 Farm bill, Congress & sugar market

USDA-ARS research plots at Sidney, Mont., get watered on a hot August day. That’s the Sidney Sugars factory in the background.

Write Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 It’s All Downhill From Here

30 Years Ago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Excerpts from the February 1983 issue

Photo: Don Lilleboe

Around the Industry . . . . . . . . . . . 22 https://twitter.com/sugarpub

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013

Who, what & where it’s happening 3


Buying or Selling Beet Stock?

New Beet Pulp Uses ore than one million tons of sugarbeet pulp are generated annually by U.S. beet sugar processors. Finding profitable uses for the biodegradable pulp, which is the leftover residue from sugar extraction, is critical for the long-term economic viability of U.S. agribusiness. USDA Agricultural Research Service researchers and colleagues have long been studying the potential of sugarbeet pulp utilization. Now, chemist LinShu Liu and plant physiologist Arland Hotchkiss, both with the Dairy and Functional Foods Unit at ARS’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa., and colleagues have found new uses for sugarbeet pulp. In collaboration with professor Jinwen Zhang of Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Liu and ARS-WSU colleagues developed a biodegradable thermoplastic (meaning plastic that becomes soft when heated) that could be used in disposable food containers. The bioplastic is manufactured from both sugarbeet pulp and a biodegradable polymer called polylactic acid, or PLA, using a twin screw extruder. PLA is a commercially available polymer derived from the sugars in corn, sugarbeet, sugarcane, switchgrass and other plants/renewable feedstocks. Extrusion is a cost-effec-

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tive manufacturing process that is popularly used in large-scale production of food, plastics and composite materials. Many biopolymers and their composite materials with petroleum-based polymers also can be extruded. The scientists showed that up to 50% sugarbeet pulp can be incorporated with PLA, and the resulting thermoplastic composites retain mechanical properties similar to those of polystyrene and polypropylene — the compounds used to make white, spongy food packages. The new thermoplastic is cost competitive with commonly used petrochemical plastics. The study was published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research in 2008. RS-WSU researchers also developed other beet pulp materials. Under extrusion compounding, sugarbeet pulp was turned into a thermoplastic-like material with the assistance of water and/or glycerol. This material can be subsequently processed by extrusion or injection molding to produce neat (meaning pure) sugarbeet pulp products. The resulting thermoplastic sugarbeet pulp possesses mechanical properties that are similar to those of low-density polyethylene — the commonly produced materials used for opaque plastic containers, bags and film coverings. It can also be blended with PLA and other biodegradable polymers for enhanced water resistance. The composite could function as a lightweight-bearing material comprising up to 98% sugarbeet pulp. This continued development of the sugarbeet pulp plastic (for example, as yogurt cups, cottage cheese tubs or other thin, opaque plastic containers) could benefit sugarbeet growers and beet sugar processors. (More findings were reported in the Journal of Polymers and the Environment and Industrial Engineering Chemistry Research in 2011.) The new composite plastics containing sugarbeet pulp are cost competitive when compared to materials that are made solely of PLA, according to Liu and Hotchkiss. “The technology is promising and provides a ‘green’ material for food packaging,� says Hotchkiss. — Rosalie Marion Bliss, ARS Information Staff �

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


Increased efficiency and reduced labor saves time and improves profit potential. More flexibility, simplicity and dependability. Proven crop safety of the Roundup Ready® system. Broad spectrum weed control.

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EVERY BEET MATTERS TO US, BECAUSE EVERY POUND OF SUGAR MATTERS TO YOU. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication. ©2013 Monsanto Company. SPCTRT028962P283AVAR1


Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of BiotechnologyDerived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Biotechnology Industry Organization. Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready® and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2013 Monsanto Company. SPCTRT028962P283R1

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Photos: Don Lilleboe

Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers

Homemade Stingers Protect Young Beets Minn-Dak Growers Achieve Objective at Minimal Cost here’s only one thing better than an idea that works effectively when put into action — and that’s an effective idea whose cost is minimal. Tim and Tony Hought accomplished that enviable objective several years ago when they were looking for a way to help protect their emerging sugarbeets from strong early spring winds on their west central Minnesota farm. “In our ground, we need to leave lumps out there, or we blow,” Tim affirms. The Houghts, who farm near Foxhome, Minn., with their father, John, came up with a simple yet highly effective solution. They took a bunch of old press drill disks, welded small perpendicular flanges on them, and mounted the modified disks on shanks — with hubs and bearings intact — for installation on their planter. The result? Homemade “stingers” that rough up enough soil to help blunt strong winds and thus guard those young beets. “We don’t get the soil lumps as large as we would with a ripper,” Tony relates, “but it’s still enough.” Prior to developing their stingers

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several years ago, the Houghts had been utilizing standard S-tine rippers on their cultivator (in the pre-Roundup Ready® beet days) to work corn stalks and barley cover crop residue. On their planter, they mounted S-tine rippers to clean between the 22-inch rows. But they experienced a fair amount of plugging when planting on old corn ground or in other heavier-residue conditions. Plus, they were putting the ripper shanks on the planter in fields with lower residue; then taking them off again when seeding fields with higher residue. (They do still run the rippers in their tractor tracks and in the planter’s wheel tracks, however, to loosen that compacted soil.) The homemade stingers stay on the planter permanently, so the sole required labor comes when they have to replace one (typically only after multiple seasons of use). Occasionally, a corn root ball may get stuck between the stinger shank and a wide-flange disk, and the disk will slide along rather than roll; but that’s rare. “If it does happen, we just need to lift up,

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


and by that time it typically drops off, and away you go again,” Tim says. The Houghts did experiment a bit at first with the width of the flanges. Their initial sets were about ¾-inch wide; but they did not provide enough soil disturbance. So they made another group whose flanges were around one inch in diameter; then a third of about 1.5 inches in width. The widest ones barely cleared the shank and tended to be a little too aggressive, in their view; so now they typically employ the midwidth ones. With the flanges being welded on both sides of the flat disk, the worked soil zone for each disk thus is two-plus inches. “Their main purpose is just to rough up the soil in the spring so the field doesn’t blow,” Tony reiterates. “We can go on ground where there isn’t hardly any trash, and it still leaves enough roughed to not blow. Then we can go into another place where there’s heavy corn residue — but it won’t plug. So it works out well in both situations. “Plus, we’re not taking them off or adjusting them all the time.” Mike Metzger, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative research agronomist and the Houghts’ former agriculturist, agrees that their homemade stingers

Tony (left) and Tim Hought display one of many stingers they’ve made in recent years. provide an effective, simple solution to a sometimes-vexing issue. “What makes them so attractive is that they can be used on fields with large amounts of residue and/or trash without plugging, whereas most other growers would have to flip the stingers

up or take them completely off to avoid this nuisance,” Metzger concurs. “With the increased acreage of sugarbeets following corn [in the Minn-Dak operations area] in recent years, this type of ‘recycling program’ really makes a lot of sense.” — Don Lilleboe ❖

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Syngenta sugarbeet seed, seed care, and crop protection products are designed to excel in the environment that matters most—your field. And with our Hilleshög® brand seed, we have over a century of successful harvests to back that up. Of course, in this business, being complacent with past results is a quick way to the back of the pack. That’s why we’re always moving forward to make sure our sugarbeet portfolio meets your needs today and tomorrow.

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Minn. & N.D. Grower Practices Survey Excerpts he 44th annual survey of weed control and production practices among sugarbeet growers in Minnesota and eastern North Dakota had a lower response rate than usual. One hundred fourteen growers responded to the survey in 2012. Combined, that group represented nearly 70,000 acres, or 10% of total sugarbeet acreage planted last year in the American Crystal, Minn-Dak and Southern Minnesota region. That’s the lowest response rate on record. (More than 240 growers responded to the 2011 survey.) The survey’s authors (sugarbeet specialists at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota) suggest that the use of an electronic survey format for the first time may be the reason for the lower response rate. Those growers who responded reported that total sugarbeet acreage treated with herbicides in 2012 was 208% (taking into account multiple applications). That compares to 287% in 2011, 256% in 2010, 230% in 2009 and 308% in 2008. The small number of respondents who planted conventional sugarbeets reported treating 378% of their acreage, while those who planted Roundup Ready® beets said they applied herbicide to 202% of their acreage. That 202% is the lowest percentage since Roundup Ready beets began being grown in the region. “Possible reasons for reduced herbicide applications include early planting followed by early crop canopy closure, which resulted in good weed control; environmental conditions that maximized herbicide activity for most herbicide applications; or the low number of survey respondents,” the authors state. Nortron was the only soil-applied herbicide reported by respondents in 2012, and that was at a very low percentage of overall acres. “The most common herbicide treatment reported by all respondents since 2008 has been glyphosate applied POST,” the survey report says. “Glyphosate, when combined across all rates and combinations, was applied POST to 192% of the total sugarbeet acreage reported in 2012, compared to 198% in 2011, 224% in 2010, 190% in 2009 and 105% in 2008.” Glyphosate plus Stinger and glyphosate plus Select were the most frequently reported herbicide combinations by those respondents planting Roundup Ready beets in 2012. “Stinger is likely added to glyphosate to help control volunteer

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013

Roundup Ready soybean and/or glyphosate-resistant common ragweed, while Select is likely added to control volunteer Roundup Ready corn.” Rhizoctonia/Aphanomyces was selected most often as the “most serious production problem” by 2012 survey respondents (43%) for the fourth year in a row. From 1999 to 2008, weeds were the primary problem for respondents;

but in 2012, only 11% of respondents selected weeds as their most serious production problem. However, that 11% does represent the first rise of weeds being reported as a serious production problem since the introduction of Roundup Ready sugarbeets. Averaged across all counties, respondents reported hand weeding on 5% of Roundup Ready beet acres. ❖

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Dateline: Washington s the nation was hanging on by its fingernails to avoid a plunge off the fiscal cliff on New Year’s Day, a nine-month farm bill extension was thrown into the package to avert a huge jump in milk prices and other unmanageable elements of the 1949 Farm Act. The purpose was to kick the can down the road a little further until bigger spending cuts across all government programs were clarified in the first quarter of the year. While the fiscal cliff debate addressed the personal tax bracket issues, it did nothing to curb spending. The spending cut debate began on January 2 and will run until late March. It will likely be more contentious than the tax debate. In late February and first of March, the debt ceiling will need to be raised, and the automatic spending cuts for domestic programs and defense will occur unless cuts are made in a more thoughtful and calculated fashion. Finally, on March 27, the government will shut down unless further funding is approved to finish the rest of the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. Each of these events will be used as a political opportunity to cut spending. It will be a fierce battle that will play out in the daily headlines. Voters in the last election said they wanted government to fix our fiscal problems — and that required leadership by both parties in both Houses in Congress and the White House. As we watch the debate over

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these critical weeks by all of these players, let’s remember the basic elements that define leadership and see how well they adhere to its basic principles. Definition of Leadership: 1) Establish a clear vision. 2) Share that vision with others so that they will follow willingly. 3) Provide the information, knowledge and methods to realize that vision. 4) Coordinate and balance the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders. 5) A leader steps up in times of crisis and is able to think and act creatively in difficult situations. ntil there is clarity of where spending cuts will be made, all congressional committees are in a holding pattern for moving legislation forward because they do not know how much they can spend. So the agriculture committees in both chambers have to let that process play out before they make final adjustments to the farm bill that was designed last year. Once the funding level is clarified, the Senate will likely go first, because it passed a bill last year and there is more confidence that with some changes to their bill, they can move it for full Senate approval and use it to pressure the House to act. The bigger challenges lie in the House, which refused to bring the farm bill to the floor last year once its own ag committee completed its

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By Luther Markwart Executive Vice President American Sugarbeet Growers Assn. work. In early January, Ranking Member Collin Peterson made it very clear to House leadership that they would have to guarantee floor consideration before the Democrats on the committee would work on a bill. Again, since nothing of significance will happen before the end of March, we will witness these kinds of political battles. s for sugar policy, our customers were screaming about stronger prices during the past couple of years — but the market is now down about 50% from where it was a year ago. Markets go up and markets go down. As we struggle with an oversupplied market, it makes it clear to policy makers that we need an adequate safety net and a policy that protects jobs, responds to unfair foreign trade practices, and is critically important to our food security and our rural economies. Oh, by the way . . . our customers are doing just fine and enjoying much lower prices. The sugar market has been out of balance for a number of months now. Both the U.S. and Mexico had bumper crops in 2012, and additional imports were added to the market last April based on bad import data from Mexico. I can assure you that addressing the core problems that caused of this oversupply is a high priority for your industry leaders. Immediately after 420,000 tons of foreign sugar were added to the U.S. market last April, industry leaders from the U.S. and Mexico met with top U.S. government officials to discuss how to provide more accurate and timely data from Mexico to better manage our policy with greater accuracy and certainty. With low U.S. raw sugar prices near world price levels, there is less of an incentive for sugar suppliers from long distances to ship to our market. There are multiple avenues of getting our market back in balance, but it will take time.

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


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COMMON GROUND

Good Things Come from Common Ground


We took our grandkids skiing, Their first time on the hill. We felt family time together Would be a Christmas thrill. They learned to put their boots on, To snap the bindings tight. Lined up on that bunny hill They made a glorious sight.

Write Field

We bought them all a lesson, Bad habits not to start. The need to learn, to stop and turn Is science and part art.

By David Kragnes

It’s All Downhill From Here wanted so bad to talk about the fiscal cliff this month. I know you all want to hear more about the brilliant maneuvering that saved us all. But I just couldn’t find words that were descrip-

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tive enough and yet ones that Don, my editor, would let me print. Instead, let me share a family story where my twoyear-old grandson learns what it appears those in Congress have not.

The oldest five are up the hill, But Cooper’s only two. Standing there between us, Wondering what to do. His Momma tried to teach him With his fancy harness rig. When coming down the bunny, How to zag and when to zig. But he found it more efficient To lay back in the straps. Let Momma carry all the weight As they made their laps. So now it’s left to Grandpa To take him up the hill, To try to teach him how to turn Without a big bad spill. With Grandma on the other side, We made it to the top. When he tried to lay back now, I let him fall down — plop! He just lay there on his back, Staring at the sky, With a look upon his face As if to wonder why. No one else had carried him, Oh, sure this day was fun. But wouldn’t it be easier If all the work was done? It only took one more time Of falling on his back, To focus him on standing up And cruising down the track. He’s not ready yet for cliffs, But he’ll be hard to beat. Because he’s learned one simple thing: Stand on your own two feet. ❖

David Kragnes farms near Felton, Minn. A former board chairman of American Crystal Sugar Company, he currently serves on the board of directors of CoBank.

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


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Updated USDA Crop Numbers January Report Estimates Nation’s Record 2012 Sugarbeet Production at 22% Above Prior Year — U.S. Sugarbeet Production, 2011 & 2012 —

California Colorado Idaho Michigan Minnesota Montana Nebraska North Dakota Oregon Wyoming U.S. Total

Area Harvested

Yield

(1,000 Acres)

(Tons/Ac)

2011 25.2 28.7 176.0 153.0 469.0 43.0 51.6 225.0 10.8 30.9 1,213.2

2012 24.5 29.7 182.0 153.0 463.0 45.8 48.9 215.0 11.0 31.3 1,204.2

2011 46.5 28.9 34.4 24.0 19.0 25.9 24.9 20.5 35.8 27.8 23.8

2012 44.0 31.8 35.3 29.0 26.5 28.2 29.8 28.0 38.0 28.6 29.3

Production (1,000 Tons)

2011 1,172 829 6,054 3,672 8,911 1,114 1,285 4,613 387 859 28,896

2012 1,078 944 6,425 4,437 12,270 1,292 1,457 6,020 418 895 35,236

Source: USDA-NASS January 2013

SDA’s January estimate of 2012 U.S. sugarbeet production confirmed the huge size of the crop compared to the previous year. Production is now estimated at a record 35.2 million tons — up 22% from 2011. And, that impressive output actually came from 7,000 fewer harvested acres compared to the prior year. The difference, of course, was due to yield. The 2012 average yield of 29.3 tons per acre was 5.5 tons higher than its 2011 counterpart. That 29.3 average was up by 0.5 ton from the initial 2012 projection, released in November. “Early planting followed by hot and dry summer growing conditions helped maximize the crop’s yield potential,” USDA reported. “Dry fall weather provided nearly optimal harvest conditions in most of the growing region.” The states of Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska and North Dakota reported record high yields the past year. At 12.3 million tons, Minnesota came in nearly double the second-place producer, Idaho. Sugarcane production for sugar also was up sharply compared to 2011, USDA notes. The 2012 output of more than 30.9 million tons was about 3.2 million higher than that of 2011. The big difference came in Louisiana, where the 2012 crop resulted in 13.2 million tons of cane for sugar, compared to 10.6 ❖ million the prior season.

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2013 Planter Test Stand Schedule Seeding Unit Evaluation Program Began in 1980s he 2013 North Dakota State University planter test stand schedule is provided at right. Any Upper Midwest sugarbeet growers wishing to have their individual beet planter units checked out for wear and other potential problems are encouraged to contact their sugar company agriculturist or the host site to make an appointment. Several hundred Minnesota, North Dakota and eastern Montana growers bring in their planter units each year for testing. A 2012 estimate of the 10year value of attending the clinic for American Crystal Sugar growers alone indicated the following: Revenue per acre for those attending a test stand clinic was $1,158 per acre; for those not attending a clinic, it was $1,116 per acre — thus an average benefit of $42 per acre. Those Crystal

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growers attending test stand clinics produced nearly 3.3 million acres of beets across that 10-year period; those not attending, about 1.5 million acres during those same 10 years. Again, these numbers do not include the Southern Minn, Minn-Dak or Sidney Sugars growing areas.

Test Stand Clinic Sites February 26 & 27 — • Sidney Sugars/Sunrise Equipment March 4, 5, 6 & 7 — • Southern Minn, Renville March 6, 7 & 8 — • Minn-Dak Co-op, Wahpeton March 12 — • Hefty Seed Company, Pembina • Evergreen Implement, Mahnomen

THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) February 2013

March 15 — • JD Equipment, Grafton March 18 & 19 — • Evergreen Implement, Warren • Ada/Halstad Elevator, Agronomy March 20 — • Betaseed Research, Moorhead • RDO Equipment, Casselton March 21 — • Betaseed Research, Moorhead • Steve Williams Shop, Fisher March 22 — • Steve Williams Shop, Fisher March 25 — • Kittson County Implement, Kennedy March 26 — • Kittson Cty. Implement, Kennedy • Syngenta/Hilleshog, Glyndon March 27 — • Syngenta/Hilleshog, Glyndon • Steve Adams Shop, East Grand Forks March 28 — • Steve Adams Shop, E. Grand Forks April 1 — • Crystal Seed Plant, Moorhead April 2 & 3 — • Crystal Seed Plant, Moorhead • Oppegard Equipment, Hillsboro April 5 — • Cavalier Equipment, Cavalier ❖

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USDA Sugar Supply & Use Numbers As Based on January-Released WASDE Estimates long with very minor changes made in USDAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sweetener Market Data for FY 2012 due to revised processor/ Come See Us @ refiner reporting, the only significant change was in the foreThe International cast of FY 2013 cane sugar production in Louisiana. The Crop Expo Feb. 20th & 21st production forecast was raised by 150,000 short tons, raw value (STRV) to 1.650 million STRV. Immediately before publication of the WASDE, sources in Louisiana had placed crop year (September 2012-January 2013) sugar production at slightly above 1.650 million STRV. Because Louisiana sugar production in September typically averages less than the total in September 2012, USDA set the forecast for this fiscal year at the 1.650 million STRV level. Subsequent to publication of the WASDE, the same local sources reported crop year production at 1.707 million STRV. Implied sugar yield is a record 4.27 STRV per acre. The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates the 2012/13 Louisiana sugarcane-for-sugar crop at 13.2 million tons. Although this total is not a record (14.225 million tons was produced in 1999/2000), the sugarcane yield at 33.0 tons per acre is a record high. & According to sources at the American Sugar Cane League, the 2012/13 season was close to ideal. There was large plantâ&#x20AC;˘ Quality Built for Over 15 Years ing in the fall of 2011, implying a greater proportion of the â&#x20AC;˘ Increase Your Payment with Less Tare crop from plant cane with higher yields. The 2011/12 winter â&#x20AC;˘ Reduce Truck Turn-Around Time was mild (no winter freezes killing back the crop), and there were timely rains during the 2012 summer growing season. There were no hurricanes or overly severe weather phenomena that could have damaged the crop. Additionally, there were no early, severe freezes. Sugar production in other regions is projected the same â&#x20AC;&#x153;Head and Shoulders above the rest.â&#x20AC;? as last month. The sum of total cane sugar production at 1-800-ROW-CROP 3.870 million STRV and beet sugar production at 5.200 mil1-800-769-2767 â&#x20AC;˘ www.hsrowcrop.com lion STRV is 9.070 million STRV. If realized, sugar production this fiscal year would be a record, surpassing the 9.050 million STRV in 1999/2000. Large beginning stocks of 1.985 million STRV and imports projected at 2.913 million STRV (minimum Automatically level tariff-rate quota imports with high Controls Steering, Depth, and NOW shortfall countered by large imports SIDE-LEVELING ! from Mexico) imply a record U.S. total sugar supply at 13.967 million STRV. USDA projects total sugar use at 11.765 million STRV. (This level, if realized, would also be a record.) Compared with last year, exports are projected 94,400 STRV lower, but deliveries are projected to be 251,400 STRV higher. The largest delivery component is for human consumption, projected at 11.380 million STRV. Deliveries for human consumption in the SMD for the first two months of FY 2013 at 2.086 million STRV are 11% higher than in the same period last year and 5.8% higher than in FY 2011. HowKiel Innovation Corporation ever, deliveries from direct consumption VWPDU\ÂśVGULYHFURRNVWRQPQ imports at 215,378 STRV, constituting Call: 218-280-3793 or Email: kielinnovation@yahoo.com 10.3% of the total, can be volatile throughout the entire fiscal year.

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) February 2013


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Does Sidedressing Pay? RRV Study Suggests It Might — Depending on Conditions tice’s feasibility, Smith suggests, is clitwo-year Red River Valley study mate. “Last year (2012) was a little looking at the usefulness of sidedry; but during the 10 previous years dressing to correct in-season nitrogen deficiency produced mixed results. Its we had a lot of standing water from exbottom line? The likely payoff — or cess rain — and under the ‘right’ condilack thereof — depends upon the cirtions, we can lose large amounts of cumstances. Here’s an explanation. nitrogen due to denitrification,” he says. The study was conducted in 2011 Another reason for this study, its auand 2012 at the University of Minthors note, is that in an excessively wet nesota’s Northwest Research and Outfall in the Red River Valley, many growreach Center (NWROC), Crookston, by ers are unable to apply all — sometimes Larry Smith and Jeff Nielsen. Smith is little or none — of the next year’s sugarbeet nitrogen needs prior to freeze-up. a longtime agronomist at NWROC and the center’s former superintendent. If they must put it all on in a spring Nielsen is an assistant scientist there. treatment (e.g., 120-pound rate), unacWhile sidedressing is quite common ceptable plant stand loss may occur. with certain crops in the Red River ValThen there is the N-use efficiency TGSTnBedder4.75x5BWFINAL.pdf 1 12/17/12 AM does that beet plant really ley, like corn, it is decidedly less so with aspect:11:59 when beets. One reason to look at the pracneed the nitrogen in order to achieve

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maximum yield? And finally, “the other reason to look at [in-season sidedressing] is environmental concerns,” Smith explains. “We’re seeing a lot more tile drainage being installed in the Valley; and if we have nitrogen going through (due to leaching), there’s the threat of it ending up in streams and rivers.” he objective of the Crookston study was to determine the effects of sidedressing 30 or 60 pounds per acre of nitrogen — at different times and with different soil N levels — on sugarbeet yield, quality and profitability. The 2011 trial was planted around May 7; the 2012 trial went in two and a half weeks earlier, on April 20. “We went in at 30-pound increments and established N rates in the fall at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 pounds,” Smith explains. “We also had 45 pounds of residual N.” The researchers then sidedressed at either 30 or 60 pounds of actual N as UAN (equatable to 10 to 20 gallons of 28%). A fluted disk coulter and tube placed the UAN at a 4- to 5-inch depth. Placement was down the middle between 22-inch rows, so 11 inches from each row of beets. Two different timings were evaluated: “T1,” which equated to the sixleaf stage; and “T2,” which was at row closure. In 2012 the T1 application was made on May 25 and the T2 treatment on June 15. The trial was harvested on September 24, 2012. In terms of overall beet yield (regardless of rate and timing of sidedressed N), yields in 2012 peaked at 29.0 tons with the 120-pound rate of total applied N. However, there was no statistical difference between 120, 150 and 180. (Remember, too, the 45 pounds of residual N already in the soil.) Recoverable sugar per acre (RSA) peaked at 90-120 pounds and then dropped off (though again, not significantly). With net sucrose, there was a significant reduction beyond 90 pounds of applied N. “The most important category from the grower’s point of view is gross return per acre,” Smith points out. “There we peaked at the 90- and 120-pound rate. Everything else was significantly less.” Smith and Nielsen found that sidedressing at all six nitrogen levels (30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180) did not appreciably increase sugarbeet yield, quality or profitability. However, they did conclude that sidedressing N may increase gross return if there has been a loss of nitrogen due to environmental conditions. The trial also underscored the importance of timing: the sidedressed

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


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Fall N 120 60 60 90 90

Table 1 — Applied Nitrogen (120 Lbs/Ac)

Table 3 — Scenario 2: Lost 60 Lbs N to Denitrification

Post N Total T1 T2 (Res. + App.) — — 165 60 — 165 — 60 165 30 — 165 — 30 165

Applied Lost Remaining Remaining Sidedress Risk Reward N N N Gross N (Lbs/Ac)(Lbs/Ac) (Lbs/Ac) $/Ac) (Lbs/Ac) ($/Ac) ($/Ac) 120 0 120 (165) 1,885 0 0 0 120 60 60 (105) 1,796 60 0 18 90 60 30 (75) 1,625 60 0 213 60 60 0 (45) 1,460 60 0 297

RSA (Lbs/Ac) 10,352 9,882 9,519 10,079 9,664

Yield Sugar Gross (T/Ac) (Net %) ($/Ac) 29.0 17.8 1,885 27.4 18.0 1,814 26.6 18.0 1,741 28.4 17.8 1,830 27.2 17.9 1,773

Table 2 — Scenario 1: Lost 30 Lbs N to Denitrification Applied Lost Remaining Remaining Sidedress Risk N N N Gross N (Lbs/Ac) (Lbs/Ac) (Lbs/Ac) $/Ac) (Lbs/Ac) ($/Ac) 120 0 120 (165) 1,885 0 0 120 30 90 (135) 1,936 30 106 90 30 1,796 30 60 (105) 0 60 30 1,625 30 30 (75) 0 30 30 1,460 30 0 (45) 0 N must be applied earlier in the season rather than later (toward row closure) to maximize return. Table 1 provides a representative

Table 4 — Sidedress Timing

Reward Time ($/Ac) 0 0

RSA RST Yield (Lbs/Ac) (Lbs/T) (T/Ac)

6-Leaf (T1)

9,671

363

26.7

18.16

1,786

RowClosure (T2) 9,170

358

25.5

17.92

1,667

40 195 145

picture of how the timing of sidedressing impacted RSA, yield, net sugar and gross return in the Crookston trial. It shows the advantage gained from put-

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Net Sugar Gross Return (%) ($/Ac)

ting on the sidedressed N at the T1 (sixleaf stage) as compared to T2 (row closure). In this trial, however, the top yield came from applying the full 120 pounds in the fall. (Again, there were 45 pounds of residual N available across all treatments.) While Table 1 indicates no advantage to sidedressing part of the crop’s nitrogen needs, Table 2 reflects the potential benefits of sidedressing, assuming 30 pounds of N being lost to denitrification. (All of the sidedressed N treatments would be at the T1 timing.) While adding 30 pounds of sidedressed N under the “120 applied/30 lost” scenario actually ends up costing $106, the opposite is true at the lower rates of applied N with the same 30 pounds lost. Table 3 is even more dramatic. It shows, for example, that if 90 pounds were applied but 60 lost to denitrification, one could gain $213 per acre by sidedressing 60 pounds of N at the T1 stage. The figure is even higher at “60 pounds applied/60 pounds lost”. As reflected in Table 4, Smith and Nielsen emphasize that sidedressing must be done early in the growing season to maximize returns from the practice. This point correlates with American Crystal Sugar Company grower recommendations regarding sidedressing. Crystal, which has a number of on-farm sidedressing trials, summarizes its guidelines as follows: (1) soil test just ahead of application, (2) apply no later than the six- to eight-leaf stage, and (3) placement below the soil surface for best results. ❖

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


Midwest Grower Idea Contest Hundreds of Innovations Shared During Its Quarter-Century Run hile writing about the Hought brothers’ homemade stinger concept (page 6), I was reminded again of how many ingenious ideas have been conceived and implemented through the years by sugarbeet growers. That sort of innovation has been — and still is — the rule, not the exception, as growers come up with ways to do things more effectively . . . and/or more easily . . . and/or at less cost. Such was the premise behind the Grower Idea Contest sponsored by the Minnesota/North Dakota Sugarbeet Research and Education Board for many years. This contest was initiated in 1977 as a vehicle for recognizing and disseminating outstanding production-related ideas developed by the region’s sugarbeet producers. Entries were voted upon by

the region’s beet growers to determine the winners. Across a quarter century, hundreds of grower-generated ideas were submitted with the assistance of sugar company agriculturists. After 2002, however, the contest was discontinued due to lack of entries. It was resurrected in 2006, with the intent of holding it every other year. But a lack of interest (entries) resulted in the contest’s termination. Who knows whether the contest will ever be renewed? In the meantime, we thought it would be fun to look back at a few of the top vote-getters through the years, including the first-place winner from that last contest in 2006. All the ideas in this retrospective group are, as you can see, harvest related. — Don Lilleboe

Roto-Beater Row Sweeper — 2006 —

Defoliator Scalper Auto Lift While Tractor Is in Reverse — 1999 —

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Conceived by Craig Hurner of Glyndon, Minn., this system swept leaves and other debris away from the one row that the beet harvester used for its row finder. Hurner developed the idea because, under some harvest conditions, there was a real problem with beet leaves building up around the harvester’s row finder arms. Hurner reported the cost of his idea to be “less than $57.” It could be adapted to nearly any combination of beet harvest equipment, regardless of defoliator or lifter row size.

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Humboldt, Minn., sugarbeet grower Marshal Hemmes came up with this idea to prevent damage to defoliators while reversing when the scalpers are down. It utilized a closed center hydraulic system. Two short hydraulic hoses were teed into the hydraulic lines running to the scalpers’ lift cylinders. They were then connected to the hydraulic doubler valve mounted on one of the hydraulic valves at the rear of the tractor. (This allowed use of the hydraulic lever normally used to raise and lower the scalpers.) The two short hoses that were plugged into the doubler valve moved oil flow to the scalper lift cylinder only if the tractor was placed in reverse. The hydraulic double valve received power to activate the solenoids from a momentary “on” toggle switch. This toggle switch, mounted on the side of the tractor transmission, was activated by the shift lever whenever the tractor was put into reverse.

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


Safe-T-Pull — 1993 —

Myron and Kurt Kemnitz of Cavalier, N.D., came up with this one: an iron pulling device that didn’t require either the truck or tractor operator to get out of his vehicle to hook and unhook while pulling trucks. Two hydraulic cylinders were attached to the pulling arm, which was mounted on the tractor drawbar. The pulling arm — securely attached to the drawbar by the hitch pin — could pivot freely sideways when pulling. It was raised and lowered by a single hydraulic cylinder. A steel pulling bracket was mounted on the front of the beet truck, with a pin attached to one end of the pulling arm. Raising the pin at the end of the arm placed it in the truck’s pulling bracket. A locking pin was pushed rearward by the second cylinder, securing the pulling arm to the truck. The Safe-T-Pull came to be commercially produced, replacing numerous tow ropes, chains and cables and increasing safety on many farms during beet harvest.

Beet Topping Unit (Scalper) — 1992 —

A desire for a better topping unit provided the inspiration for Paul and Kevin Crummy of Argyle, Minn. They wanted to incorporate the concept of a disk without the expense of a power-driven unit. The Crummys started with a used 16-foot field disk, mounting it on a hub and bearing assembly from an Alloway beet cultivator cut-away disk. (The hubs were mounted on the top side to prevent moisture from entering the bearings.) They then built a mounting bracket to hold and offset the disk so that ground and beet contact would keep the disk turning. The free-turning unit neatly snipped the top off even the smallest beets — and never needed sharpening.

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013

Lifter Wheel Filler Spokes — 1988 —

This winning idea, entered by Craig Halfmann of Stephen, Minn., grew out of his frustration with installing or removing filler spokes and cables every year. Consisting of a permanent rotatable set of lifter wheel spokes, it was based on a need for a better way to install close-ups on lifter wheels. The filler spokes, designed to stay on permanently, could be quickly rotated from an open to closed position. Always in place, they saved a lot of time, as compared to a separate installation. The filler spokes were mounted on a flat steel ring, which in turn was mounted to the lifter wheel with two bolts. The ring was slotted, allowing the operator to rotate the spokes to open or closed positions as needed. Two other bolts locked the ring and filler spokes in the desired position. (Note: Craig Halfmann has incorporated several innovations into products that have since been marketed by his company, H & S Manufacturing of Stephen.)

Chain Tightening Bar — 1980 — The chain tightening bar was developed by Donald Hurner (Craig’s father) of Glyndon. It aided in the installation of a new harvester elevator chain or tightening of a used chain without bending the chain links. Hurner began with two 1-3/4” x 1-3/4” x 38” angle irons. (The angle iron length was to be equal to the width of the elevator chain to be tightened.) Ten hooks were then cut from old elevator chain links, with four of the hooks spaced equally on each of the angle irons and then welded to one side of the iron. Opposite these four hooks (but on the same side of the iron), an additional hook was welded in the center of each iron. To operate the tightener, the four hooks on each iron were hooked onto the elevator chain where it was to be tightened. A cable hoist was then hooked on the single hook in the middle of each iron. With this device, only one cable hoist was needed to tighten the elevator chain. ❖

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Photo: Don Lilleboe

Left: Cody (left) and Brock (center) Tibbetts are shown in one of their 2012 beet fields with Sidney Sugars agriculturist Todd Erickson.

Newer Growers Off to Strong Start With Strip-Tilled Beets Tibbetts Brothers of Terry, Mont. he Tibbetts brothers — Todd, Cody and Brock— are quick to emphasize that they still have a lot to learn about growing sugarbeets. After all, 2012 was just their third year of raising this crop. Plus, “our place is fundamentally a ranch, so it seems like the cows come first,” quips Cody. Still, they seem to be pretty quick learners. The Tibbetts brothers were recently recognized as being among Sidney Sugars’ top producers this past season for averaging 30.7 tons with 19.33% sugar across a 118-acre contract — nearly three tons and 1%, respectively, above the station average. That farm

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was planted after a conventional till process, but the Tibbetts are strip-tilling most of their sugarbeet acres. The Tibbetts farm near Terry, Mont., is almost 90 miles southwest of the Sidney Sugars factory. Their roots run deep in the area. As a youth, their father, Steve, camped in a sheep-camp wagon while working in the outlying areas of the family’s sprawling cattle/ sheep ranch. The Tibbetts have grown dryland no-till wheat and corn for a number of years; but their “new” crop — sugarbeets — mostly follows irrigated corn under a strip-till scenario. They’ll leave the corn stalks standing over winter to trap some snow, then do the strip-till pass in the spring. Working the tilled zone to an eight- to 10-inch depth, they put on 60-65% of their anticipated liquid nitrogen needs with the strip-till unit. (The remainder is applied in-season through the center pivot.) The sugarbeet planter usually heads down the rows within a couple hours of the strip-till pass. Why strip till and why not a fall strip-till pass? “Although we’re drier here than in the Midwest, our corn does not come off until very late,” Cody relates. “So we don’t have a chance to do fall tillage, and we get virtually no breakdown [of corn residue] in the fall.

With so little residue breakdown, we seem to need a system that moves the residue out of the way rather than one that relies on seeding through residue.” Also, they’ve been putting cows out on some of the corn ground into early spring to feed — and, simultaneously, to help ‘manage’ the corn residue. That’s changing in 2013, though. “This year (2012), we probably left the cows on too long, so there was more compaction.” Brock says. “We won’t be keeping the cows on those fields in the spring after the frost goes out” this coming season. Like a number of other strip-till producers in 22-inch rows, the Tibbetts have had their struggles with handling the heavy corn residue during the striptill pass. That’s one reason why they’re going with a new implement this year — a Schlagel Till-N-Plant 2. In 2012 the majority of their beets were strip tilled into full corn residue that had been grazed, but they also had some strip-tilled beets behind corn residue that had been windrowed and baled. Reluctantly, they had to burn off some corn residue that had not been grazed or baled. Cody explains the reluctance to remove all of the residue through burning: “The beets came up really well on those burned acres; but then, when we had a lot of wind last spring — especially in sandier soils, they really had no protection. The young beets with protection from the residue seemed healthier after winds. “But residue management issues aside, when we compare the seedbed from behind a disk ripper/roller harrow with that from strip till, we’ve found the strip-tilled seedbed is better and has more moisture.” One advantage of the heavy corn residue has been enhanced soil moisture retention. “In the spring, the ground didn’t crust or dry out when those beet seedlings were so vulnerable,” Cody remarks. The residue cover also translated into a little lower irrigation water requirements, they believe. The Tibbetts would like to bale the corn residue that goes through the combine by attaching a baler directly to the combine. “The benefit would be twofold,” Brock explains. “We’re getting all the best feed in those bales, and there wouldn’t be so much ‘loose’ residue out there during the strip-till pass and planting; yet we’d still have the standing stalks.” — Don Lilleboe ❖

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


30 Years Ago Sugar Program Working — Shannon — “The federal government’s sugar program is working and is in the ‘long-range best interest’ of U.S. consumers, the domestic sugar industry, and large sugar-using companies, a spokesman for a farmer-owned sugar cooperative told the Sugar Users Sweetener Colloquium in Phoenix. “Gerald W. Shannon, general manager and chief executive officer of the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative at Wahpeton, N.D., warned the sugar user groups that attempts to remove sugar from the current four-year farm program could backfire and leave American consumers vulnerable to the up-and-down world market. “ ‘There are perhaps a handful of individual sugar users that are currently able to deal satisfactorily on the world market,’ he said, but noted that most are removed from seaport refineries and could suffer shortages if the U.S. sugar industry were to collapse. “Shannon pointed out that the sugar program enacted by Congress in 1981 was made effective in 1982; President Reagan later ordered country-by-country import quotas to strengthen the program. As a result, he said: ‘U.S. sugar buyers paid less per pound for sugar in the first six months of 1982 than they did in the first half of 1981 — and they paid less in 1981 than they did in 1980.’ ”

Excerpts from the February 1983 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower

ease in sugarbeets. The team has observed two toxins that the [C]Cercospora fungus produces when it infects beets. In addition, the team has observed the phytoalexins that beets produce to protect themselves against infections. . . . “ ‘Perhaps one way to increase disease resistance would be to measure the number and amount of these phytoalexins, or ‘warding-off’ compounds, and incorporate them into commercially valuable varieties,’ says Susan S. Martin, plant physiologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Fort Collins, Colo.”

Colorado Grower Finds Way to Control Cyst Nematodes — “Barnard Geisick of Greeley, Colo., no longer debates whether to fumigate his sugarbeets in the spring or fall. He’s found another way to control cyst nematodes. “Using a granular systemic pesticide, he spends less application time, faces fewer overall risks and combats a wider range of pests. “Attacking the taproot, cyst nematodes can hurt sugarbeet yields. Soil fumigation is an effective way to combat nematodes, but several factors have made fumigation less desirable to some growers. For Geisick, fumigation was additional work in an already timeconsuming operation. . . . “Geisick looks at farming like any other type of business. ‘If you don’t keep up with progress, you can get Block Says More Support ‘Not behind the times — not only with in Cards’ — “Hawaii sugar growers technology, but equipment and should expect no further help from practices too,’ he asserts. . . . Washington this year since last year’s “Geisick’s move to Temik price support measures have ‘provided aldicarb pesticide is an example. enormous stability in the sugar market,’ He had been using Dow’s Telone Agriculture Secretary John Block told reporters in Honolulu. and Shell’s DD for some time, and s e ll A “Block, in Honolulu to address the Nawer Joe 983. had looked at test data and lisro g , t. n 1 o tened to various growers who tional Council of Farmer Cooperatives, ngs, M president in ve: Billi A said that although he realizes sugar farm- Abo the new ASG were using Temik. After comparing it to s ers here would like to see even more gener- wa what he was getting from fumigation, he switched to ous price supports, ‘that’s not in the cards.’ Temik on all his sugarbeet acres.” “A year ago, Congress vetoed an amendment that would have reduced federal loan prices on sugar from 17 Puerto Rico Imports Sugar for First Time in 100 to 14 cents a pound. But sugar refiners and food and Years — “Puerto Rico has definitely ceased to be a sugar beverage manufacturers would love to see such supports exporting island. For the first time in the last 100 years, it had to import sugar to meet its local demand. reduced. Block said the U.S. sugar industry is in ‘relatively better shape than in other countries’ and he didn’t “Once, the island had a raw sugar output of around anticipate ‘the administration making problems greater 1,360,000 short tons (1952), which was shipped to the U.S. for the sugar industry.’ ” mainland for refining. In those days, sugar producing experts estimated Puerto Rico could very well increase its output to about 1,600,000 tons a year by 1980. But, inPlants Produce Chemicals Against Fungus Disstead, the 1982 crop was roughly [114,000] short tons or eases — “Examining the amount of chemicals that indiabout 40,000 tons less than the previous harvest year. vidual plants produce to defend themselves against fungus diseases might provide plant breeders with a “Of the 48 sugar mills operating in 1949, only five were milling this year, plus one refinery. A total of mechanism to increase disease resistance. 34,000 short tons of refined sugar had to be imported “An interdisciplinary team of scientists has been from the U.S. mainland . . . .” ❖ closely following the nature of [C]ercospora leaf spot dis-

THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013

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Around The Industry Mich. Bean & Beet Symposium Set for Feb. 19 in Saginaw The 2013 edition of the Michigan Beet & Beet Symposium & Trade Show takes center stage on Tuesday, February 19, at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. The morning program, which begins at 9:30, is comprised of bean-focused presentations. Two sugarbeet-oriented talks take place following the lunch hour: “Cercospora Management Practices in the Red River Valley: Using Agronomic Data to Maximize Profits,” by Allan Cattanach, general agronomist with American Crystal Sugar Company; and “Reflections on the 2012 Growing Season: Extremes, Climate Trends and Implications to Agriculture,” by Jeffrey Andresen, associate professor and state climatologist, Michigan State University.

About 100 commercial exhibitors will be in attendance at the 2013 event. There is no charge to attend. For more information, contact Steve Poindexter, MSU extension sugarbeet educator, at (989) 758-2500.

30th International Sweetener Symposium Set for Aug. 2-7 The 30th International Sweetener Symposium, hosted by the American Sugar Alliance, is scheduled for August 2-7 at the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif. Preliminary information is available on the ASA website — www.sugaralliance.org — with more details coming this spring. Traditionally, about 400 individuals from various segments of both the beet and cane sugar industries attend the International Sweetener Symposium to learn about timely issues of significance

affecting the sweetener industry and to interact with industry colleagues.

Michigan Sugar Marks 10 Years As a Grower-Owned Cooperative It has been 10 years since farmers growing beets for Michigan Sugar Company (MSC) bought the company and transformed it into a cooperative. In October 2004, growers from Monitor Sugar Company merged with the MSC growers to bring the state’s sugarbeet industry under one ownership group. As of 2006 — the year when the transition was fully completed, the MSC Carrollton factory was shuttered, efficiencies of the merger were in place, and job positions were fully consolidated — MSC employed 450 people year-round and 1,475 on a seasonal basis. The current corresponding job numbers are 742 and 1,656. ❖

Plan Now to Attend the 51st

International Sugarbeet Institute March 13 & 14 • Fargodome • Fargo, N.D. 100,000+ Sq. Feet of Exhibits • 125 Companies $5,000,000 in Products & Equipment on Display

Doors Open at 9:00 a.m. Both Days — 2013 ISBI Speakers — Wednesday Afternoon —

‘Sugar Industry Challenges & Opportunities’ Luther Markwart Exec. Vice President, American Sugarbeet Growers Assn.

Thursday Morning —

‘The Sugarbeet Industry Five Years From Now’ Get Updated on the Latest Developments in Beet Production! 22

Howard Dahl President & CEO, Amity Technology THE SUGARBEET GROWER February 2013


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The Sugarbeet Grower Magazine February2013