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Efficient Production Optional in-cab adjustments and monitoring for Active Depth Control

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‘Serving The Nation’s Sugarbeet Community Since 1963’ Volume 51 Number 5 July/August 2012

Page 4

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

— Feature Articles —

Publisher: Sugar Publications

Harvest Efficiency Reminders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 RRV consultant weighs in on issues, provides checklist

General Manager & Editor: Don Lilleboe Advertising Manager: Heidi Wieland (701) 476-2003 Graphics: Forum Communications Printing

Page 12

USDA Unit’s Research a Long-Term Investment . . 12 Profile of Fargo ARS sugarbeet team and their work

Harvesting Sugarbeets Circa the ’90s — 1890s . . 16 USDA report provides an intriguing look back

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.

— Regular Pages —

— Front Cover —

Dateline: Washington . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Farm bill update, biotech news

Tim and Jake Pender harvest one of their Clay County, Minn., beet fields on an early fall morning in 2011.

Write Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Visit Our Website! Updated & Expanded!

Wherefore Art Thou?

Photo: Don Lilleboe

Around the Industry . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Who, what & where it’s happening

www.sugarpub.com THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012

3


Photo: Don Lilleboe

Harvest Efficiency Reminders

Red River Valley Consultant Offers Thoughts Regarding Most Common Problems; Provides Harvester Strut Checklist

hen Kelly Sharpe discusses sugarbeet harvester adjustments and operation, he does so from several different perspectives: (1) as the son of a longtime sugarbeet grower who also set up farm equipment for central Red River Valley implement dealers for

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many years; (2) as a former quality control specialist for a sugarbeet harvester manufacturer; (3) as a beet processor agriculturalist and harvest loss team leader; and (4) as a harvest educator who has presented seminars and clinics in several U.S. sugarbeet regions.* So when Sharpe is asked for his thoughts on the most common problems he sees or hears about when it comes to harvesting sugarbeets, his response merits attention. “It still comes back to the ‘most basic of the basics’ — speed and depth,� he states. “If you pull into almost any piling station, whether you’re in Idaho or the Red River Valley, you’re going to see a certain amount of variability in beet loads. Some look fantastic, while the next one looks a little ‘rag-tag.’ “I appreciate the field variability factor. I completely understand that you can get on a ditch bank, for instance, and have some [digging issues]. But the point to be made is that travel speed and digging depth are still your two most critical items.� He quickly adds a third as well: the throttle. “Speeding up or slowing down the rpm’s will make huge adjustments in the way beets are coming off the lifter wheel,� Sharpe points out, “or in * Kelly Sharpe is agronomist and co-owner with GK Technology, Inc., a precision farm software and mapping company headquartered in Halstad, Minn. He can be contacted at Kelly@gktechinc.com or via the company website: www.gktechinc.com.

the way the grab rolls are cleaning off dirt or chewing up beets.� Aside from the above three operating variables, “the most important adjustment on the harvester is what you do with that lifter wheel: pinch points, making sure your wheels are not bent or worn, getting the beets pulled out of the ground without snapping off tails,� Sharpe remarks. Getting as many whole, undamaged roots into the transport truck is not only good for Kelly Sharpe the grower’s pocketbook; it also means fewer problems in the beet pile. Sharpe cites harvester struts as one area where many growers tend not to give adequate attention. “The thinking often is, ‘It pulls a little that way, it pulls a little this way; not a big deal,’ � he says. “We talk about pinch point, e.g., you should be at 1-3/4 or 1-7/8 inch. So a grower will measure and determine he is at 1-7/8. But if the bearings are bad and the wheel moves back and forth a little when I turn it, now I might be at 1-3/4; then, when it actually goes into the ground, I may have a 2-1/4 inch pinch point.� That’s why Sharpe developed the “Harvester Strut Checklist� (provided on page 5). It’s important, he emphasizes, to go through this checklist in sequence — i.e., “Struts Tight,� then “Wheels Tight,� then “Wheels Straight,� etc. Paying close attention to the

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012


Harvester Strut Checklist Credit: Kelly Sharpe / GK Technology

Check in Sequence: • Struts Tight

Inspect to ensure the bolts, pivot pins and adjustment bolts are tight. Also, make sure there are no cracks in any of the wheels.

• Wheels Tight

Pull/push the wheels left to right to ensure all the bearings are tight. Also, spin the wheels, making sure they move freely.

• Wheels Straight

Roll each wheel. You should be getting 1/8” or less change off the inner face of each wheel.

• Widest Point

This is the widest distance between the two wheels on a lifter strut. (Measure on the lugs on lugged wheels.)

• Pinch Point

Measure at the tightest point between the wheels (at lugs on lugged wheels). All pinch points should be within 3/16” of each other from row to row. Correct setting (1-1/2 to 1-7/8”)

• Spindle Variance

Spindle Variance is the Widest Point minus ( - ) the Pinch Point. It is a good indicator of any bent struts. If your rows vary by 1/2” or more, you likely have a bent strut or spindle.

• Row Spacing

Measure Row Spacing to the center of each Pinch Point. Your rows should be within 1/16” of their settings. Measure on a continuous tape - e.g., Row 1 = 22”, Row 2 = 44”, Row 3 = 66”.

• Pinch Point Angle

Angles should all be within 2 degrees of each other. Anything greater may indicate a damaged spindle, strut or wheel.

• Wheel Scrapers

Scrapers should be adjusted within 1/16” to ‘just rubbing’ on wheels. Contact area of the wheel should be smooth and level.

• Paddles

Paddles should be inspected, rubber in good shape; and, if it can be adjusted out to the wheel, it should be just ‘tickling’ or brushing the wheel edge.

— Your Harvester: Check Off As Each Row’s Inspection Is Completed — Row 1

Row 2

Row 3

Row 4

Row 5

Row 6

Row 7

Row 8

Row 9

Row 10

Row 11

Row 12

• Struts Tight

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• Wheels Tight

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• Wheels Straight

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• Widest Point

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• Pinch Point

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• Spindle Variance

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• Row Spacing

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• Pinch Point Angle

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• Wheel Scrapers

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• Paddles

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012

5


“Widest Point” as well as the “Pinch Point” is key, he adds. Why? “Every year, you have a row behind where your sprayer tracks are. That row was pressed down, compacted. So those pinch wheels work harder. “Sometimes those spindles will start going flat. So when you do your measurement up top, you may find, for example, that you’re at 17 inches on top and 2 inches at the bottom; then, on the next row, you may be 16 inches on top and 3 at the bottom. Or, worse yet, you could end up with a 15-inch and 2-inch because you pulled extra shims to get

that pinch point down to where you wanted it. “When you subtract the difference between the two, that difference should always be within 1/4 to 1/2 inch on all the rows.” “Row Spacing” is another harvester site where close attention is rewarded. “You would be amazed at how many people find out their row spacings are not fully accurate,” Sharpe observes, “because when they were set up, someone may have gone 22-22-22, etc., instead of using a long tape that went 22, 44, 66, 88 and so forth.”

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The main point Sharpe makes regarding struts is this: “If you get the beets into that harvester in good condition, the grab rolls won’t be nearly as aggressive on them. But if a nice beet comes up from the ground and gets pulled sideways because your pinch points aren’t where they should be, it’s a problem. “When beets get beat up, oftentimes it’s the grab roll activity that gets blamed — when, in fact, the problem actually started ‘up front.’ ” he strut checklist obviously is a regimen that needs addressing prior to harvest. As far as in-harvest adjustments (other than speed, digging depth and throttle), Sharpe brings up two “really key spots that often don’t get adjusted during harvest like they should be — things that truly change during the season.” The first is the wheel scraper. “It’s adjusted over winter or during prepile so that it’s set to scrap the mud out nicely. It works great in the early mud; then things get a little drier and that scalper becomes worn. Initially it’s touching wheel-to-scraper and keeps things clean. But then, as we run 300, 400 or more acres through that machine, all of a sudden there’s an 8-inch gap — and it just rained 2 inches. “That’s a real good time to check up on and clean off those scrapers. I know they’ll get muddy again, but get them out to where they’re supposed to be.” The second in-season adjustment that often gets neglected is paddleshaftto-wheel clearance. “I wouldn’t want my paddle touching on the wheel at all,” Sharpe says. “But if you get into wet conditions, you’re going to have issues if you let mud build up on that wheel. If the wheel was 3/16 inch thick and all of a sudden you’ve added another quarter inch of mud on each side, well, your pinch point just got a half inch narrower.” — Don Lilleboe v

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Dateline: Washington Farm Bill Senate — On June 20, the Senate concluded its consideration of its version of the 2012 farm bill. It considered 73 amendments to the bill passed out of the Agriculture Committee. Each amendment had a total of two minutes of debate – one minute in favor of the amendment and one minute against. An unprecedented three amendments against U.S. sugar policy were raised by opponents. The first amendment considered on the farm bill was to completely eliminate U.S. sugar policy. The amendment was offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) and co-sponsored by Senators Ron Kirk (R-Illinois) and Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey). It failed on a vote of 46-50. The second amendment, which sought to eliminate all the changes and improvements to the sugar policy made in the 2008 farm bill, was offered by Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) and co-sponsored by Senators Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), Dan Coats (R-Indiana), Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), Ron Kirk (R-Illinois) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire). This amendment would have rolled the sugar loan rate back 27 years (1985), eliminated the feedstock flexibility program (surplus sugar to ethanol), eliminated the April 1 date that restricts adding sugar to the market until the U.S. crop is mostly processed and the harvest in Mexico is well along, and giving U.S. growers first right to 85% of the U.S. market. The amendment also mandated an ending stocks-to-use number (15.5%) that would have kept our market in an oversupplied situation, creating depressed prices and threats of forfeitures. It also would have allowed countries that could not fill their tariff rate quota amount to sell their excess to the U.S. market to another foreign supplier. This amendment lost 46-53. The third amendment, offered by Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), rolled the April 1 date back to February 1, in which the USDA could announce

8

greater imports to the market. By moving the day back earlier in the year, it adds more risk to making accurate import decisions. The amendment passed by a voice vote in the Senate. The Senate farm bill must now wait for the House to take action on its own bill, which is completely separate from the Senate bill. House — On July 11, the House Agriculture Committee completed its crafting of the farm bill in a 15-hour marathon session during which 103 amendments were considered. An amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (RVirginia) was the same as the amendment outlined above by Sen. Toomey, making drastic changes to the sugar policy. The amendment failed 36-10. A second amendment regarding an attempt to effectively modify the U.S.Colombia Free Trade Agreement was ruled out of order and withdrawn because it was outside the jurisdiction of the ag committee. So the sugar provisions in the House bill are the same as those in the current bill. Many Thanks to your grower leaders who were in Washington for our summer board meeting and the many visits they made on Capitol Hill asking members to vote against any amendments against the sugar policy. Their visits truly make a difference. The big question now is when and how the House will proceed with consideration of the farm bill. With the Senate’s completion of the bill and the current bill expiring September 30, there is great pressure for the House to take up the bill before Congress recesses starting August 4 and continu-

An unprecedented three amendments against U.S. sugar policy were raised by opponents. . . . The first amendment was to completely eliminate U.S. sugar policy.

By Luther Markwart Executive Vice President American Sugarbeet Growers Assn. ing to September 10. As of this midJuly writing, there is no answer to that question. Whenever the House completes action, the House and Senate farm bills will have to be reconciled so that one bill is created from the two separate bills. The leadership of the two committees will manage that process to produce a “conference report.” The conference report cannot be amended in either body and is sent back to both the House and Senate for a very brief debate and final vote. If approved by both chambers, the bill is then sent to the President for his signature and to become law. In a separate action, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pennsylvania) offered an amendment in the House Appropriations Committee to the FY 2013 agricultural appropriations bill. It was a “means test” restricting sugar processors from taking out CCC loans. The amendment failed in committee by a vote of 15-30.

Biotech The 800-plus-page Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on June 8, and the public review and commenting ended July 9. On July 20, USDA published the Record of Decision (ROD) in the Federal Register, which once again deregulated Roundup Ready® Sugarbeets (RRSB). While growers no longer have to abide by the USDA compliance agreements under the partial deregulation, they must retain their records and comply with the provisions of the technical use agreement with the tech provider. Specific instructions will be communicated to growers by their processor. Beet growers have always been good stewards of the technology and will continue to be in the years ahead. Litigation — The two RRSB cases currently pending in U.S. District Court will now have to be reviewed by the court in the context of the deregulation of RRSB. (Continued on Next Page)

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012


Supply & Demand Carryover stocks ending September 30 are expected to be at 15.4% of usage, which is the highest level of stocks in many years. With a large beet crop expected this year, there will be plenty of sugar available for customers without increasing imports above our minimum obligations under our various free trade agreements.

Harvest simplified

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Annual Meeting The 2013 ASGA Annual Meeting will be held on February 3-5 in San Diego, Calif., at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. The program will include various speakers and events pertaining to key industry issues and current sugar policy. Meeting registration will be available online at www.americansugarbeet.org beginning as of November 1. Visit the ASGA website for more information.

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ASGA Intern Many thanks to Leah Kramer from Bird Island, Minn., for a great experience this year. Leah met many members of Congress and worked on several projects that were helpful for our grower leaders’ work on the farm bill. We appreciate her dedicated efforts and support over the past two months. v

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U.S. Sugar Industry Directory The new 2011/12 U.S. Sugar Industry Directory is by far the most comprehensive “who’s who” of U.S. sugar, providing listings for several hundred companies, organizations and agencies involved in the production, processing and marketing of U.S. beet and cane sugar and co-products. The 148page full-color 8-1/2” x 11” book includes: • Address, phone, fax, email, website & names of key personnel for all of the sugarrelated entities, along with types of products/services provided.

• Personnel & basic production information for each of the nation’s sugarbeet factories, sugarcane mills & cane sugar refineries. • Mexican & Canadian sugar sections. • Listings of local, state, regional, national & international sugar organizations. Also, listings of USDA & university sugarbeet & sugarcane researchers. • Commentary & statistics (current and historic) on the U.S. sugar industry — plus a color map depicting U.S. beet & cane growing areas.

Individual Copy Price: $49.50 Price includes postage & handling on U.S. & Canadian orders. Add $10.00 for airmail postage to other countries; U.S. funds. Visa & Mastercard accepted. Quantity discounts available.

Lilleboe Communications Ltd. P.O. Box 2684 Fargo, ND 58108 THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012

Phone: 701-238-2393 Email: lillcomm@yahoo.com

9


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.

©2012 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow all bag tag and label instructions before buying or using Syngenta products. The instructions contain important conditions of sale, including limitations of warranty and remedy. All crop protection products and seed treatments may not be for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your state or local extension service before buying or using Syngenta products. All orders for varieties containing Monsanto’s Genuity® Roundup Ready® Sugarbeet event H7-1 are conditional on full or partial deregulation. Hilleshög,® the Alliance frame, the Purpose icon and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Genuity® and Roundup Ready® are trademarks of Monsanto. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368). www.FarmAssist.com 18DC2016-P1 6/12


U.S. Sugar Prices

U.S. & World Raw Sugar Prices, FY 2012 Through Mid-July (Cents Per Pound)

A Situation Summary Excerpts from the July USDA-ERS Sugar & Sweeteners Outlook Report

ince August 2009, monthly sugar prices (average of Intercontinental Exchange [ICE] nearby no. 11 raw sugar contract) have been above the U.S. sugar loan rate (18.00-18.75 cents per pound) except for a short four-month period in 2010. These higher world prices have helped to keep U.S. prices (nearby ICE no. 16 contract) above the average range of 20-23 cents per pound that was characteristic of the period between FY 1983 and FY 2009. In addition to world price levels, there is now more attention focused on the relationship between sugar availability in the United States and the margin between world and U.S. raw sugar prices. World sugar prices have been on down-trend since July 2011 (30.51 cents per pound) through last month (20.44 cents per pound). USDA estimates 2011/12 world sugar in surplus at 10.002 million metric tons, raw value (MTRV), and projects a 2012/13 surplus of 10.692 million MTRV. These surpluses, plus a depreciation of the Brazilian real currency unit by 12.9% since January 2012, have put a downward expectation of world raw sugar prices through 2013. All else constant, lower world raw sugar prices translate into lower U.S. raw sugar prices. Despite the downward trend, world sugar prices started increasing in mid-June from their May-through-first-half-ofJune low points (which ranged from 18.90 to 21.05 cents per pound). A review of first-week averages of the October 2012, March 2013 and May 2013 no. 11 contracts for April, June and July shows that first-week June averages for the three contracts were decidedly below the averages of two months earlier; but the first-week-July averages increased to about midway between the April and June averages. LMC International has pointed to several weather-related events to explain the recent increases since early June: wet weather in Center/South Brazil and Australia affecting production and exports, a slow start to the monsoon rains in India, and the possibility of a return of El Niño weather pattern in the second half of 2012. It is far from certain that these concerns will continue into the remainder of 2012 and 2013. The margin between world and U.S. raw sugar prices averaged 11.13 cents per pound for October 2011 through March 2012. The average for April-June was 8.39 cents per pound, a reduction of 24.6% from the earlier period. For the period of October 2011 through March 2012, the ending FY 2012 stocks-to-use ratio in the WASDE ranged between 5.3 and 10.4%. On April 19, 2012 (after the publication of the April WASDE), the Secretary of Agriculture increased the FY 2012 sugar TRQ and the U.S. Trade Representative reallocated the existing the TRQ away from countries that could not fulfill their originally allocated TRQ. At the time, it was expected that an additional 450,000 STRV would enter into the United States as a result. Also since April, there has been

S

THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) July/August 2012

greater certainty about potential sugar imports from Mexico. In the April WASDE, these imports were projected at 730,000 STRV and are estimated in the July WASDE at 1.139 million STRV. The stocks-to-use ratio in the July WASDE is at 15.4%. The average ratio since May has been about 15.0%. The accompanying figure (above) shows average monthly U.S. raw sugar prices since October 2011 as a combination of world sugar prices and the U.S.-world price margins. The world price has decreased from an October high of 26.30 cents per pound to 21.89 cents for the first week of July. The margin proportion of the U.S. price has decreased to about 22% in July. With the stocks-to-use ratio for FY 2013 projected at 14.7%, the U.S.-world raw sugar margins may well be less than they have averaged in the recent past. If world raw sugar prices resume their month-earlier downward trend, the v outlook for U.S. raw sugar prices would be lower as well.

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June USDA Acreage Estimate USDA’s late June-released estimate of planted acreage for the 2012 U.S. sugarbeet crop came in at nearly 1.25 million acres. That compared with the 2011 acreage of just over 1.23 million. Planted acreage was higher in most sugarbeet states compared to 2011. Only California (25,000 versus 25,100), Nebraska (51,000 versus 52,300) and North Dakota (220,000 versus 231,000) were lower in 2012.

At 490,000 planted acres, Minnesota remains by far the largest sugarbeet acreage state in the nation. (Minnesota had 479,000 planted acres last year.) North Dakota was second, followed by Idaho (183,000 planted acres, up from 176,000 in 2011) and Michigan (154,000 acres, compared to 153,000 last year). USDA’s June forecast of harvested sugarcane acreage (for sugar and seed combined) was up about 2% from 2011.

Planted U.S. Sugarbeet Acreage: 2010, 2011 & 2012* California Colorado Idaho Michigan Minnesota Montana Nebraska North Dakota Oregon Wyoming United States

2010 25,600 28,900 171,000 147,000 449,000 42,600 50,000 217,000 10,300 30,500 1,171,900

2011 25,100 29,400 176,000 153,000 479,000 45,000 52,300 231,000 10,900 31,000 1,232,700

2012* 25,000 31,800 183,000 154,000 490,000 46,500 51,000 220,000 11,000 31,800 1,244,100

— Advertisers —

We offer you comprehensive coverage among growers in every North American sugarbeet production area!

Upcoming Issues:

November/December January February March

For Details, Contact:

* Estimated as of June 2012

Heidi Wieland (701) 476-2003 hwieland@forumprinting.com

Source: USDA-NASS

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Photo: British Sugar Beet Review

UK Beet Industry Marks Centennial

The Cantley factory is one of four operated by British Sugar.

ritish Sugar and the National Farmers Union (NFU) were joined in early July by more than 50 representatives from across the industry to celebrate the centennial of the United Kingdom’s beet sugar industry at a commemorative event hosted at the Cantley sugarbeet factory. A celebratory event was held to mark this significant milestone within the industry’s history, which began in 1912 when the Cantley sugar factory was built and processed the

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012 (Upper Midwest)

first sugarbeet crop. Today, Cantley remains one of four beet processing factories, processing 7.5 million (metric) tons of beet from about 4,000 growers. (British Sugar’s other factories are Bury St. Edmunds, Newark and Wissington.) “The production of homegrown sugar plays a vital role within our local rural and agricultural economy, which was demonstrated today with so many representatives coming together from across the industry,” noted Gino De Jaegher, managing director of British Sugar. “We are all incredibly proud of this great British success story. The first harvest and factory campaign began a remarkable partnership between agriculture and the industry, with people being very much at the heart of our industry. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the NFU and growers to ensure our ongoing success as an advanced and sustainable manufacturer.” William Martin, chairman of the NFU Sugar Board, observed that “100 years of the UK beet sugar industry is a fantastic achievement and a great example of sustainable intensification in practice. The sugarbeet crop has been a way of life for generations of farmers, and over the years productivity has increased well beyond expectations and beyond progress of any other arable crop. By continuing to focus on research and driving innovation in the way in which we can improve our sugarbeet growing, we can look forward to commemorating the next 100 years.” Sugarbeet yields have been rising faster than those of any other UK arable crop — 60% since 1980. The UK industry has made significant investments into process efficiencies, research and development with the industry contributing around £1 billion to the economy, with the homegrown sugar supply chain supporting around 13,000 jobs. v

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Recognize This Implement? Do any of our astute readers recognize the implement in the photo below? The photo was sent to Allan Dragseth of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum by a farmer in Ontario. “He has been told it is a sugarbeet harvester that came from Denmark,” Dragseth says. “To me, it looks like it plowed the beets into

the rotating basket with the disc, and then the basket delivers them to a small hopper which is then dumped into piles. Then they could be forked into the wagon or truck.” Dragseth invites anyone who is familiar with this implement to contact him. His email address is adragseth@rrv.net. He also can be reached at (218) 281-2550. v

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Americans Doubt Anti-Sugar Spin Results of New Survey Released by ASA s Congress considers the fate of the current no-cost sugar policy in the ongoing farm bill debate, a new survey released in mid-July shows that the American public doesn’t believe big food manufacturers’ arguments that policy changes would benefit the nation’s grocery shoppers. By more than a three-to-one margin, Americans say they think food manufacturers would pocket the savings from lower sugar prices to boost corporate profits rather than lowering food costs, found the survey, which was conducted online on behalf of the American Sugar Alliance (ASA) by Harris Interactive between June 29 and July 3 among 2,088 U.S. adults (age 18+). History has shown that they are right, says Jack Roney, an economist with ASA. The price sugar producers receive has fallen 24% since the summer of 2010; yet the price grocery shoppers pay for sugar and food products haven’t fallen as grocers and food companies pocket the savings. And shoppers have noticed. According to the survey, nearly 70% of Americans said they’ve seen an increase in retail sugar prices since the summer of 2010, and 81% said the price of food and candy have climbed over that same period. “The issues of sugar prices and grocery shopper benefit are at the heart of the sugar policy debate,” Roney explains, “and these results will tell lawmakers a lot.” The lopsided findings are even more surprising, according to Roney, because the survey also showed that Americans believe sugar is much costlier than it actually is and think it makes up a much larger percentage of a food product’s cost than it really does. When asked how much a pound of sugar costs, the average answer was $4.80 — and more than half of Americans believe sugar costs more than $2 a pound. Food manufacturers paid less than 45 cents for a pound of sugar in June, according to government data. Americans, on average, also said they believed there was 22 cents worth of sugar in a $1 candy bar, whereas a candy bar only contains 2 cents of sugar, Roney notes. v

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THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) July/August 2012


There should be an even coat Of pliers across the land, So no matter where I am One should be at hand.

Write Field

Perhaps a string around my neck Would help me keep a pair, Just like an aging teacher keeps Her glasses hanging there. Lots of truckers seem to have Their wallet on a chain. A pliers tangled in the loops Just might be a pain.

By David Kragnes

Wherefore Art Thou?

But gone they are without a trace, My pocket’s hanging light. I look around upon the ground, They are nowhere in sight.

I lost a pair of pliers Again — again today. How can something without legs So easily go astray?

With all the many pairs of pliers I’ve bought throughout the years, Losing yet another pair Could almost bring me tears.

I put them in my pocket This morning in the shop. I didn’t take them out today, I didn’t hear them drop.

What with the little farm I farm, I ask how could there not Be any place without a pliers Stacked upon that spot?

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012

So the key is finding where They all have gone to hide. My wife says she has washed a few When work pants come inside. Maybe she is saving them In a private stash, Like a secret IRA She’ll someday turn to cash. More likely I will find a sight To make me stand and gape. A stack of pliers beyond count, Each with a measuring tape.

David Kragnes farms near Felton, Minn. He is a former chairman of American Crystal Sugar Company and currently serves on the board of directors of CoBank.

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USDA Unit’s Research a Long-Term Investment

Photos: Don Lilleboe

A Profile of the Fargo, N.D.-Based USDA-ARS Sugarbeet Research Team

Above: Potato plant physiologist Jeff Suttle (2nd from right) is research leader for the USDA-ARS Sugarbeet & Potato Research Unit at Fargo, N.D. The unit’s sugarbeet scientists are plant pathologist Melvin Bolton (left), molecular biologist Karen Fugate (2nd from left) and geneticist Larry Campbell (right). nlike sugarbeet growers, who harvest the fruits of their labors every year, those who conduct basic research on this crop may not witness the commercial payoff from their work for a decade, two decades — or even longer. While we all need a certain amount of patience and persistence in our jobs, no one relies on such traits more than public scientists like Larry Campbell, Karen Fugate and Melvin Bolton. Campbell, Fugate and Bolton are with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Sugarbeet & Potato Research Unit based in Fargo, N.D. The beet component of this unit (whose leader is potato plant physiologist Jeff Suttle) is charged with helping to improve the quality and profitability of sugarbeet production through fundamental research on germplasm enhancement, crop protection and postharvest physiology. Campbell, a plant geneticist,

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began with the unit in 1978. Fugate, a molecular biologist, has been with the Fargo group since 1998, while Bolton, a plant pathologist, is its newest member, having joined in 2008.

Using Molecular Technology to Fight Disease Sugarbeets contend with a number of diseases, including several of huge economic importance. One of Fargo ARS plant pathologist Melvin Bolton’s primary goals is to gain a better understanding of how the various disease pathogens are able to “manipulate” the sugarbeet plant. Such information then can be used “to hopefully develop lines with improved disease resistance, based on what we know about what the pathogens are doing,” he observes.

That objective is not new, of course. Plant pathologists around the globe have, for decades, sought to better understand such pathogens in order to develop effective control measures (fungicides, host plant resistance, cultural practices). Today, however, plant pathologists and geneticists are employing a wonderful new weapon in their disease-fighting arsenal: molecular technology. Initially quite expensive, this weapon has become increasingly affordable in recent years. “Even 10 years ago, gene sequencing was still pretty expensive,” Bolton says. “But the cost to do the types of things we’re interested in doing has dropped dramatically (due to competition among providers). A procedure known as next-generation sequencing allows Bolton and fellow scientists to sequence (map) the entire genomes of important sugarbeet pathogens like Cercospora beticola. Doing so provides them with a much better understanding of these pathogens’ biology — which is essential when developing the tools (host plant resistance, new fungicides, etc.) for controlling the diseases. A key component of Bolton’s molecular technology program is the identification of important proteins or toxins produced by pathogens during the course of infection. These molecules, commonly known as “effectors,” are secreted during fungus colonization. In a process quite similar to how a human body’s immune system operates, the sugarbeet’s host resistance gene “will recognize that effector, turn on the defense response — and kill the pathogen,” Bolton explains. “So if we can find an effector that’s important to the pathogen and is potentially recognized by a host resistance gene, that can be a way to deploy resistance into commercial lines.” One of the more-exciting developments of late is the use of a molecular technology called “quantitative PCR” to identify fungicide-resistant strains very quickly. A prime example is Cercospora resistance to certain strobilurin fungicides, which has shown up in Michigan and sugarbeet areas of Italy. In the past, North Dakota State University plant pathologist and collaborator Gary Secor, whose group tests for such resistance, would have to take submitted leaf samples, isolate the fungus from the samples, grow it via sterile techniques in the laboratory — and then mix the fungicide with the resulting medium in petri dishes to determine whether the fungus was resistant. It was a process that could take up to several weeks to complete.

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012


Melvin Bolton â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get a leaf sample, take a paper punch of a leaf spot â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and, because we know thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a mutation associated with resistance, within two hours we can tell you whether that fungus is resistant to the fungicide or still susceptible,â&#x20AC;? Bolton advises. Such a vastly accelerated process means that they can advise a grower on a very timely basis whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth spraying that particular fungicide. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Before, if you had a high-disease-pressure summer, you might not get that information fast enough to be of use,â&#x20AC;? Bolton points out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now we can get it to you really fast â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and cheaper than it was before.â&#x20AC;? The 2012 growing season is the first in which this new technology is being put to the test by sugar company agriculturists and growers. Bolton, Secor and NDSU/UM sugarbeet specialist Mohamed Khan also have collaborated in using molecular technology to help identify a new species of Fusarium that is causing localized serious damage in the southern Red River Valley. He believes this strain is much more aggressive than the more-familiar Fusarium oxysporum. The new species causes severe early season yellowing and scorching of leaves, vascular discoloration of the taproot, and early plant death. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It may warrant new resistance breeding strategies if the pathogen becomes more widespread,â&#x20AC;? Bolton notes.

Breeding for Root Maggot Resistance & Lower Impurities Breeding for resistance to the sugarbeet root maggot (SBRM) has been a core focus of Campbellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s research throughout his tenure with the Fargo

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012

ARS team. The root maggot is not a pest of European sugarbeets; nor is it present in all North American beet regions. So no breeding for SBRM resistance is being conducted elsewhere. While this insect historically has plagued sugarbeets in several parts of the Red River Valley, its population levels and economic threat currently are greatest in the Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northern reaches â&#x20AC;&#x201D; especially Pembina, Walsh and Grand Forks counties of North Dakota. The Fargo SBRM resistance breeding program was initiated by Campbell back in 1983 with encouragement and assistance from North Dakota State University entomologist Albin â&#x20AC;&#x153;Andyâ&#x20AC;? Anderson. Three root maggot-resistant lines have been released to date. The latest (F1024), released in 2009, combines a high level of root maggot resistance with moderate resistance to Cercospora leafspot. As with all germplasm developed by USDA breeders, these lines are available to interested commercial sugarbeet breeders for evaluation and potential use in their own hybrid development programs. No one has been able to develop a successful system for rearing sugarbeet root maggots in the laboratory or greenhouse, so Campbell and his group must conduct their research and evaluations out in the field. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All selection for resistance and root maggot damage evaluations rely on natural infestations in the northern Red River Valley, at sites near St. Thomas, N.D.,â&#x20AC;? he notes. The availability of a few registered

Larry Campbell insecticides for SBRM control has been critical for sugarbeet growers in those areas where the root maggot is an economic problem â&#x20AC;&#x201D; especially in lieu of SBRM-resistant hybrids. Should some of those insecticides lose their efficacy, however â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or should some be withdrawn from the market for whatever reason â&#x20AC;&#x201D; having resistant hybrids would take on vital importance, Campbell points out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Root maggot-resistant hybrids would be similar to having hybrids with resistance to Cercospora or Rhizoctonia: you may not completely eliminate the maggot from your fields; but you would reduce the damage considerably.â&#x20AC;? While it consumes the majority of his time, root maggot resistance is not Campbellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only area of research. He New harvester sales Factory reconditioned used harvesters available with warranty Numerous header options available: 9R20â&#x20AC;?, 8R22â&#x20AC;?, 8R20â&#x20AC;?, 6R30â&#x20AC;?, 6R20â&#x20AC;?, 4R30â&#x20AC;?, 4R28â&#x20AC;? or inquire for more options Parts and Service

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also works to develop breeding lines with lowered impurities (sodium, potassium and amino-nitrogen). The lower the levels of these impurities, of course, the higher the sugar extraction levels in the factory. “The objective of this research is to provide insight into the extent each of these impurities can be reduced without having negative effects on root yield and sucrose concentration,” Campbell explains. Corollary evaluation examines the interaction among the individual impurity components that may either hinder or facilitate processing quality enhancement. Three germplasm lines with reduced sodium, potassium and amino-nitrogen concentrations, respectively, were released by Campbell’s program in 2011.

Storage Research: Maximizing Sucrose Retention When Karen Fugate first joined the Fargo ARS sugarbeet group 14 years ago, her main charge was to study ways to increase the accumulation of sugar within the sugarbeet plant. That was all well and good. But then it dawned upon her and others that it was equally important to focus on retaining as much of the sugar that was already present at season’s end. In other words, what could be done to minimize the loss of sugar during the storage period between harvest and processing? As such, Fugate’s research encompasses four major objectives: (1) determine the metabolic factors that affect sucrose accumulation and root yield during production; (2) determine the metabolic factors that affect sucrose loss during storage; (3) determine the impact of production diseases on root storage properties; and (4) investigate the usefulness of inducing the sugarbeet plant’s native defense mechanisms to reduce storage losses. Those first two objectives have largely revolved around (a) the role of sucrose-degrading enzymes in the sugarbeet plant root and (b) those en-

‘There is so much to learn on so many different levels. There are plenty of things to keep us motivated and excited.’ 14

‘Each Step Is Exciting’

Karen Fugate zymes’ impact on sucrose content, root yield and sucrose loss during storage. Since respiration is the single most important cause of postharvest sucrose loss, Fugate also has conducted research aimed at better understanding what factors within the beet root actually regulate storage respiration rates. That information “could lead to the development of metabolic or genetic markers to screen germplasm for improved storage characteristics,” she says. When present in stored beet roots, diseases like Aphanomyces root rot, Fusarium yellows and Rhizomania are major contributors to quality deterioration and sucrose losses — sometimes of a very large economic magnitude. Fugate’s research (Objective #3), conducted jointly with Larry Campbell and, most recently in collaboration with Dr. Carol Windels of the University of Minnesota-Crookston, has quantified the detrimental effects on storage properties caused by roots infected with various levels of these diseases. This information is proving useful to sugar company agronomists and storage pile managers in deciding how to manage beet piles — including whether to keep certain beets out of the piles altogether. Objective #4 is more long-term in nature. It focuses on determining the ability of certain sugarbeet plant hormones (i.e., jasmonic acid and salicylic acid) to reduce storage losses. “Initial research with jasmonic acid acid demonstrated the ability of this compound to protect roots against Botrytis, Penicillium and Phoma,” Fugate reports.

All three Fargo ARS sugarbeet scientists agree that while the fruits of their labors are distinctly futuristic — and often exceedingly so — they have little problem remaining committed to their mission. Success typically comes in increments, not in dramatic breakthroughs. But the motivation persists. “We make these little steps,” Melvin Bolton summarizes. “But each step is exciting — even though it may be small. There is so much to learn on so many different levels. There are plenty of things to keep us motivated and excited.” The ever-dynamic relationship between plants and pathogens provides a clear window into why pathologists like Bolton will never run out of challenges. “One of the issues in plant pathology is that we may find a nice resistance gene that provides [protection from] an important pathogen — but these pathogens can mutate and overcome that resistance,” he illustrates. “So it’s a constant battle. The pathogen will win for awhile; then the host plant will win for awhile.” Mother Nature doesn’t give up her secrets easily, Karen Fugate concurs — and that is why researchers like her seldom are bored. “What gets me excited is the process, seeing progress,” she affirms. “Sometimes you do things that don’t work out very well, which is disappointing. But that usually opens up new doors, and you go in directions you previously didn’t expect to go.” For Larry Campbell, knowing he and his colleagues played a key role in the development of today’s commercial sugarbeet varieties and those yet to come is inherently gratifying. “With a lot of what’s out there — Cercospora resistance, for example — the seed companies produce the final product. But if you look at the sources of resistance, you’ll find they often [were developed] by USDA programs,” he states. “They’re putting together the final product; we’re supplying germplasm that [helps lay the foundation]. It’s a good partnership.” — Don Lilleboe v

‘They’re putting together the final product; we’re supplying germplasm that helps lay the foundation. It’s a good partnership.’ THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012


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COMMON GROUND

Good Things Come from Common Ground


Harvesting Sugarbeets Circa the ’90s — 1890s The following discussion of the timing and methods of sugarbeet harvesting appeared in an 1898 U.S. Department of Agriculture publication titled “Special Report on the Beet Sugar Industry in the United States.” The section from which these excerpts were taken was written by field agent Charles Saylor, who during 1897 visited every state and locality mentioned in his report, inspecting farms and factories and interviewing growers and sugar manufacturers. As of 1897, sugarbeet factories were in operation in the following locations: Alvarado, Watsonville, Los Alamitos and Chino, Calif.; Lehi, Utah; Eddy, N. Mex.; Norfolk and Grand Island, Neb.; and Rome, N.Y. Factories being readied in time for the 1898 sugarbeet crop included Salina, Crockett, Santa Maria (Betteravia) and Hueneme (Oxnard), Calif.; LaGrande, Ore.; Ogden, Utah; Bay City, Mich.; and Binghamton, N.Y. The report also indicated that a factory was being built at Dunkirk, N.Y., for the 1899 crop.

and the leaves showing this dropping tendency peculiar to the matured plant. The beets have now finished their work, and the next step of the grower must by governed by his locality. If he is in a locality where there is a probability of rain, the beets must by harvested and placed in silos. This would be the case in most of the sections where rain conditions prevail, such places usually having strong rains in September and October, followed by more or less warm days. The effect of the rain will be to cause the beets to begin growing again and new leaves will soon be noticed starting out, as well as new lateral roots from the beet in the soil, all the beets showing a general tendency to a second growth. Serious damage to the crop will soon be done in this way. The sugar content of the beet goes down materially and its impurities increase, so that if the rains are marked and followed by warm days, it is possible for a whole crop to be lost, so far as their fitness for factory purposes is concerned.

Harvesting

Harvesting Implements

The time of harvesting is governed by the time of the ripening of the beets. This ripening is made apparent by the outside leaves of the plant taking on a yellowish tinge and dropping to the ground. An experienced eye soon learns to detect a field of ripe beets that is ready for harvesting, the whole field being colored to this yellow tint

Harvesting is accomplished by means of an implement especially prepared for the purpose. We have seen several kinds of these implements, all of which seem to work admirably. In some places it is done by means of a long slender plow, which works on the principle of the stirring plow. It goes deep down into the ground with a

Below: Sugarbeets being delivered to the factory at Alvarado, Calif., in the 1890s.

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sharp plowshare. This plow is run close to the beet in such a way that the share cuts the taproot just below the enlargement of the beet, at the same time loosening, lifting, and laying it on its side. Another harvester, instead of having a share, has two prongs, one of which passes on either side of the lower portion of the beet root; the space in front between the two prongs being larger than that in the rear, causes the beet root to be forced into the smaller space between these prongs as they pass by, and the beet is lifted bodily 3 or 4 inches and the taproot broken. As the plow passes on, the beet drops back into its place loosened and ready to be lifted from the ground by the hand. Following the plow are persons who pick up these beets and by one stroke with a large knife made for the purpose separate the crown of the beet together with the leaves. This is called “topping,” and it is the aim of the person doing this “topping” to make the cut where the line of the beet shows that portion has projected above the ground. Where the beet has been grown entirely under the ground only enough is cut off to carry with it the crown and the leaves. If the beets are to be sent to the factory at once, the “topper” simply throws them in piles, from which they are taken and placed in sacks and put in wagons for delivery to the factory. They are sometimes thrown loosly (sic) into the wagons from the piles. Most of the factories, however, have arrangements for quickly handling the beets. Some of them have wagons provided with nets for receiving the beets, and upon reaching the factory these nets are taken from the wagons by the aid of machinery, and their contents dumped into the beet sheds. At other factories the wagons are hauled upon an elevated driveway, which is arranged in such manner that the portion on which the wagon rests can be tipped, and the wagon tipping at the same time, the load of beets is precipitated into the beet sheds. By either of the above methods the beets in the wagons are very quickly handled at the factory, and the advantages of these arrangements can be appreciated when it is known that long lines of wagons, loaded with sugar beets, stand ready at the factory to be handled. Either of these arrangements quickly dispose of many wagon loads, and teams are not required to wait long, as would be the case if unloaded in the ordinary way of shoveling out of the wagons into the shed. v

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012


Around The Industry Randon Wilson Honored As ‘Sugar Man of the Year 2011’ Randon W. Wilson, senior lawyer with the Salt Lake City law firm of Jones, Waldo, was honored as “Sugar Man of the Year 2011” during a midMay luncheon of the Sugar Club in New York City. Wilson is the 54th recipient of this prestigious Dyer Memorial Award, named after the founder of B.W. Dyer & Company, a 109-year-old brokerage company for sweeteners and other foods. Wilson played a key role in sugarbeet grower cooperRandon Wilson atives’ successful acquisitions of the Amalgamated Sugar Company, Michigan Sugar Company and Western Sugar Company (now Western Sugar Cooperative) in the late 1990s and early 2000s. More recently, he helped organize Sugar Growers & Refiners, a Louisiana cooperative comprised of cane growers, sugarcane mills and landowners. Wilson then aided the cooperative as it entered into a joint

venture with Cargill, Inc., and Imperial Sugar Company to form Louisiana Sugar Refining (LSR). LSR built and now operates the nation’s newest cane sugar refinery at Gramercy, La., having opened its doors in 2011. During his career, Wilson also has represented numerous other cooperatives engaged in a variety of agricultural sectors. Born in Logan, Utah, and raised on a dairy farm that also produced sugarbeets, Wilson graduated from Utah State University and later earned his law degree from the University of Utah. He served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer in Vietnam prior to joining Jones, Waldo, where he remains fully active. He and his wife, Virginia, have six children, 27 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In reading Wilson’s Sugar Club award citation, Lonnie Champagne, chief executive officer of Sugar Growers & Refiners, stated: “Randon Wilson, you have had a truly distinguished career in which you have assisted the sugar industry for many years. You played a major role in the vertical integration of the beet sugar industry and thereby have enabled it to become a far more reliable

RRV Sugarbeet Museum Hosts 8th Harvest Festival on Sept. 9 The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum celebrates its 8th Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 9. The museum is located on the southeast side of Crookston, Minn. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with a pulled pork dinner. Vintage

equipment will be on display, with infield demonstrations in the afternoon, including a horse-drawn digger. The Kritzberger family of Hillsboro, N.D., will be honored this year. For details on Harvest Festival, visit www.sugarbeetmuseum.com.

A horse-drawn unit lifts beets during the 2011 Harvest Festival at the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum. Horses will be in action again at this year’s event, scheduled for Sunday, September 9.

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suppler of sugar to meet the nation’s needs. More recently, you have also contributed to integration in the cane sugar industry. . . . “The impact you have had on the sugar industry has been truly remarkable. Among other things, our colleagues admire your hard work, dedication, business savvy and negotiating skills. “Your many outstanding accomplishments are a credit to the sugar industry. It is an honor to add your name to the roll of distinguished recipients of the Dyer Memorial Award.”

37th ASSBT Biennial Meeting Scheduled for Feb. 27-March 2 The American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding during the organization’s 37th biennial meeting, to be held on February 27-March 2, 2013. The meeting takes place at the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, Calif. The event begins on the 27th with registration, poster setup and the evening President’s Reception. A general session is held on the morning of the 28th, followed by agricultural and operations technical sessions that afternoon and throughout the next two days. The 2013 ASSBT meeting concludes with the traditional awards banquet on the evening of March 2. Complete meeting information, including registration details, will be posted on the ASSBT’s website — www.bsdf-assbt.org — as it becomes available.

2013 International Sugarbeet Institute March 14-15 in Fargo The 51st edition of the International Sugarbeet Institute will be held March 14 and 15, 2013, at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D. The ISBI is North America’s largest sugarbeet industry trade show. Any companies desiring preliminary exhibiting information for the 2013 International Sugarbeet Institute can contact exhibits coordinator Bob Cournia at (218) 281-4681. Other ISBI-related questions should be directed to Dr. Mohamed Khan, organizing committee chairman, at (701) 231-8596. v

THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2012


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July/Aug 2012 Sugarbeet Grower Magazine