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After all, we’ve been a part of your industry for more than 100 years, beginning with our Syngenta Seed-Hilleshög division. Syngenta Crop Protection continues to roll out innovative products, like Inspire® XT fungicide. And now Syngenta Seed Care has become the newest member of our growing sugarbeet family. These are just a few more ways we are working to bring you more vigorous stands and higher beet yields. Our products, along with our local crop experts, field representatives and industry support, demonstrate a commitment to your healthy growth—today and in the future. ©2010 Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., 410 Swing Road, Greensboro, NC 27409. Important: Always read and follow label instructions before buying or using Syngenta products. Inspire XT is not currently registered for sale or use in all states. Please check with your state or local extension service before buying or using this product. Inspire®, Bringing plant potential to life®, Hilleshög® and the Syngenta logo are registered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368). www.FarmAssist.com MW 1SUG0005-A 3/10
‘Serving The Nation’s Sugarbeet Community Since 1963’ Volume 49 Number 5 July/August 2010
Sugar Publications 4601 16th Ave. N. Fargo, ND 58102 Phone: (701) 476-2111 Fax: (701) 476-2182 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: www.sugarpub.com
— Feature Articles — Topper Gets Equal Space on Beet Harvest Billboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Publisher: Sugar Publications General Manager & Editor: Don Lilleboe
Michigan brothers underscore importance of good defoliation
Sugarbeet Harvester Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Make sure all your maintenance bases are covered
Advertising Manager: Heidi Wieland (701) 476-2003
‘Less Is Better’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Graphics: Forum Communications Printing
The Japanese & Chinese Beet Sugar Industries . 14
Overview of beet processor policies on tare dirt Production, trade and consumption in these Asian nations
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.
A Government Program That Worked Too Well . . 21 Land grant research and extension need our support!
— Regular Pages —
— Front Cover —
Dateline: Washington . . . . . . . . . 10
That’s American Crystal Sugar’s Moorhead, Minn., factory in the background beyond a research plot.
Roundup Ready, sugar market, ’10 elections
30 Years Ago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Photo: Don Lilleboe
Excerpts from our August 1980 issue
Visit Our Website! Now Updated & Rejuvenated!
Around the Industry . . . . . . . . . . 20 Who, what & where it’s happening
Write Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
Will this shop get cleaned?
Left: Ken (left) and Mike Richmond (right) discuss the upcoming Michigan harvest with employee Todd Roestel. The Richmond brothers were featured in two articles in the July/August 2009 issue of The Sugarbeet Grower — "Harvest Questions? Ask the Richmonds!" and "Walking the Walk: Richmonds Produce Quality Crops."
Topper Gets Equal Space On Beet Harvest Billboard So Say Michigan’s Richmond Brothers ike sugarbeet growers everywhere, Ken and Mike Richmond know how important proper maintenance and operation of their beet harvester is in each year’s profit-making equation. But that doesn’t mean the Bay Port, Mich., brothers downplay the role of a quality defoliation job — far from it. “We feel that when it comes to adjustment and operation, the beet defoliator is about as important as the harvester,” Ken affirms. “Because if you’re doing a good job with your top-
per, those beets will dig much better for you — and, they’ll store so much better in the pile.” Not a revolutionary statement, perhaps, but it’s one the Richmonds follow through on religiously. And it’s a point they repeatedly emphasize to their fellow Michigan beet growers and customers. Along with running their own Huron County farm, the brothers advise other beet producers — individually and at group meetings — on the modification and adjustment of beet
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defoliators and harvesters for optimum efficiency. They’ve also developed a flourishing business fabricating and selling upgrade kits for toppers and lifters (with the latest product being a row finder featuring new-style valves). Asked to highlight a few “topping tips” and common errors to avoid, the Richmonds immediately zero in on flail quality and ground speed. “Number one is flail quality,” Mike states, noting that running worn or damaged flails will guarantee a compromised defoliator performance. Assuming flail quality is good and the topper has been thoroughly checked over and maintained, “at that point it comes down to field operation,” Ken adds. “Ground speed is important, your rpm-to-PTO speed is important, and your front-to-back height is crucial, too. You want your front up a little and back end down a bit.” It may seem obvious, but the Richmonds also stress the importance of putting an “educated” driver on the defoliator tractor. “Oftentimes, the topper driver is the retired farmer down the road who can drive straight but may not have grown beets,” Mike muses. “He may set up the topper for a certain field — and then, when done there, simply go to the next one. “But every beet field is different — from soil type, to the beet variety being grown there, to plant population and stand uniformity. So if those things are not taken into account, the topper can either knock out a lot of beets or leave on parts of the tops.” “If you get into thinner beets, you need to lift the topper and slow down a little so you don’t knock them out,” his brother adds. “When they’re thin, they have a tendency to ‘grow out’ of the ground. You don’t want to hit them too heavy and too low when they’re thin. Where the beets are thick, they’ll be uniform. If the field is thick from front to back, you can usually just set the flail height and away you go.” Furrows — whether from sprayer tracks, irrigation unit tracks or going across harvested headlands — can threaten not only topping efficiency, but also the defoliator itself, the
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‘When you’re trying to move beets 90 degrees to the tube, that’s where the rolls have to be in real good shape.’ explains. The result has been reduced machine fatigue and overall improved defoliation quality. hen it comes to the lifting half of the harvest equation, the Richmonds first focus, not surprisingly, on thorough preharvest maintenance. (See “Sugarbeet Harvester Checklist” on next page.) That accomplished, it’s on to field operation. Every beet grower understands that ground speed and digging depth can dramatically influence harvesting efficiency, and the Richmonds are no exception. Their standard travel speed is 3.6 to 3.7 mph, but they also know digging in heavy clay soils calls for slower speeds as compared to lighter ground. They prefer to dig deeper to minimize tail breakage and chipped beets. But doesn’t that mean more tare dirt? If the harvester is properly adjusted, the grab rolls are in good shape, and one’s ground speed is appropriate, the machine’s cleaning action should keep the tare within acceptable limits, Mike ventures. “And that’s why you also have to dig slower. If you’re going to dig deep and drive too fast, you’ll have a problem. “Adjust to the situation,” he reiterates. “If you’re digging in sand and dirt’s not an issue, that’s one thing. If you’re digging in heavy clay — like we are most of the time — it is an issue.” Having repaired and replaced many grab rolls over the years — both on their own harvesters and on those of grower/customers — Ken Richmond offers these thoughts on the “repair or replace” question: “It depends on where the roll is in the harvester. If they’re in a transition area, they have to be good. You can get away with a little less wrap in places where you’re trying to move beets in the same direction as your tubes. But when you’re trying to move beets 90 degrees to the tube, that’s where the rolls have to be in real good shape. If not, the beets will sit in those transitions and be damaged. “As a general rule, I would never let [rolls] get anywhere below 50%; and where the transitions are, they should be 75% and above to work right.” — Don Lilleboe ■
The Richmonds’ solution — for both their own defoliator and those of several other Michigan growers — has been to offset one rear wheel on each side by about eight inches from its neighboring wheel. “So the first wheel on each side will come into the furrow — but won’t fall in so hard because the back wheel is eight inches behind it,” Ken
Richmonds point out. The rear wheels on most defoliators are in line with each other, “so if you drive across a furrow, they all hit into the furrow at the same time,” Ken notes. “That topper can literally shake when you’re going across dug headlands. It bounces up and down, jams the flails into the ground, forces dirt up underneath.”
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THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
Scrub Chain & Tower ____ Inspect tower for cracks, wear points, loose bolts ____ Idler wheels - check bearings, wear & tightness ____ Idler rollers - check bearings, wear & tightness ____ Scrub chain worn (over 30 to 50% wear) ____ Scrub chain drive sprockets worn (flip? / replace) ____ Tension arms adjusted (wheel to have clearance of 3/4” to 1”) ____ Scrub chain-to-grab roll clearance (0.5”) ____ Head shaft - bearings, sprockets & drive chain ____ Run & inspect scrub chains alignment ____ Drive chains oiled & bearings greased
Grab Rolls ____ Inspect bearings (loose or worn) ____ Scrolling in good shape (over 50%) ____ Smooth & grab tubes (straight, no wear areas) ____ Plastic - chunks missing or worn through ____ Check lock collars, tapered hubs & shafts ____ Tighten all bolts ____ Inspect drive belts, chains & alignment ____ Grab spacing - pinch side (1”-2” tube to tube) ____ Drive chains oiled & bearings greased
Apron Shaft & Chain ____ Shaft straight & welds inspected ____ Drive chain, gears & slip clutch inspected ____ Bearings good & lock collar tight ____ Apron chain tension (worn 30-50%, replace) ____ Apron chain drive sprockets worn (flip?) ____ Apron-to-wheel clearance (2”-3”) ____ Apron chain-to-grab roll clearance (0.5”) ____ Drive chains oiled & bearings greased
Structural ____ Main frame welds, cracks, fatigue ____ Rear struts - tight, check welds, scrapers, fatigue ____ Rear wheels - bearings, greased & tire PSI
Boom & Mini Tank ____ Inspect boom for cracks, wear points & loose bolts ____ Tank structure sound (tight, check welds & fatigue) ____ Chain slides - no breaks or excess wear ____ Idler wheels - check bearings, wear & tightness ____ Idler rollers - check bearings, wear & tightness ____ Conveyor chains worn (over 30-50% wear) ____ Conveyor chain drive sprockets worn (flip? / replace) ____ Shafts - bearings, sprockets & drive chains ____ Run & inspect conveyor chain alignment ____ Hydraulic motors & pumps - tighten bolts & screws ____ Drive chains oiled & bearings greased
Wheel & Carrier ____ Inspect wheel for wear, cracks (welds) & loose bolts ____ Inspect wheel carrier for cracks & loose bolts ____ Wheel carriers - worn - check bearings ____ Drive chain, gear & bearings inspected ____ Shoe - worn or bent (must be running centered) ____ Knockouts inspected ____ Wheel cleaner inspected ____ Drive chains oiled & bearings greased
Courtesy Kelly Sharpe / GK Technology / www.geektechforag.com
Sugarbeet Harvester Checklist Hitch & PTO ____ Bolts are tight ____ Pivot pins tight / keys in place ____ Cracked welds or bent metal ____ PTO — U-joints no play ____ Greased Row Finder ____ Mounts are tight / inspect all welds ____ Arms straight, even & move freely ____ “T” shaft straight & moves freely ____ Arms centered over row ____ Hydraulics & electronics working properly ____ Greased Lifter Wheels & Struts ____ Wheels worn (less than 1”) ____ Wheels bent, cracked or have casting flaws ____ Row spacing (using 22, 44, 66, etc.) ____ Strut bolts tight ____ Strut & scraper inspected for cracks/wear ____ Rock package adjusted to specifications ____ Bearings, seals & tightness ____ Pinch points (1--1/2” to 2”) ____ Check pinch point angle (all the same) ____ Mud scrapers adjusted to proper location ____ Greased Paddle Shaft ____ Shaft straight & welds inspected ____ Bearings good & lock collar tight ____ Drive chain, gears & slip clutch inspected ____ Paddles timed ____ Paddle wear & wheel clearance correct ____ Drive chains oiled & bearings greased
Miscellaneous ____ Inspect all hydraulics for leaks & worn hoses ____ Hydraulic motors & pumps - tighten bolts & screws ____ Inspect all electronics for wear points & functioning ____ Inspect watering systems for bent brackets & mounts ____ Water system hoses, nozzles, pumps all functioning ____ All safety shields in place & functioning
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
‘Less Is Better’ When It Comes to Tare Dirt Beet Processor Ag Managers Outline Policies, Including ‘Financial Incentive’ Features for Upper Midwest Growers veryone agrees “less is better” when it comes to tare dirt. Leaving dirt in the field rather than hauling it to the piling site translates into (1) a more-efficient harvest, (2) more tons of beets per load, (3) faster cooling of beet piles and fewer storage problems, (4) less dirt being trucked from the piling site to the factory, and (5) improved factory efficiency. But sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t cooperate — most notably in an excessively wet and muddy harvest season. Then, too, sometimes part of the issue comes back to individual growers, e.g., a lifter that’s not properly maintained or adjusted and/or a digging depth/ground speed combination that doesn’t allow for adequate cleaning action. The result? More dirt, less efficiency. The two Red River Valley sugarbeet cooperatives believe they have at least a partial answer for excessive tare dirt: dollars. In an effort to motivate growers to do the best job possible in minimizing tare dirt, both American Crystal Sugar Company and MinnDak Farmers Cooperative offer a financial incentive program on a sta-
To motivate growers to do the best job possible in minimizing tare dirt, American Crystal and Minn-Dak offer a financial incentive program on a station-by-station basis. tion-by-station level. The programs operate on a “net zero” basis, i.e., in the end, the number of dollars paid out in premiums matches the number withheld in penalties. Both are in effect only during the stockpile harvest, not during the prepile period. merican Crystal’s policy has been operational since 1998. Greg Richards, the company’s former ag strategy development manager and now agronomy manager for Crystal’s Moorhead and Hillsboro factory districts, describes how it works: “We take a look at the stockpile harvest average tare percentage for each individual station. Depending on where the individual grower is at [compared to the station average] determines how much of an incentive (premium) he gets or how much of a penalty he pays.” The current rate is 50 cents per ton for every 1% variance from the average. So if Grower A’s tare level is 2% below the station average, he receives $1.00 per ton of beets delivered. Likewise, if the tare level is 2% above the average, he’s charged $1.00 per ton. “The incentive is for the growers to do as good a job as they can,” Richards notes. “We reward the guys who do a real good job, and we penalize those guys who do a poor job.” By operating the policy on a station-by-station basis, weather is largely removed from the
equation. “If someone is in a wet harvest, their neighbor is probably in the same boat,” Richards points out. “Because it’s by station, we feel we’re in a small enough geographic area” where the playing field — weatherwise — is level. Richards says the per-point premium/penalty amount initially was 13 cents per ton. After reviewing the results and getting feedback from growers, however, American Crystal ag management concluded that level was not high enough to have much effect on how growers conducted their harvest operations. “Knowing that, we felt we had to provide more of an economic incentive. So two years ago we went to 50 cents,” he explains. Not everyone likes the system, of course. And, not surprisingly, “the ones we hear the most from are the guys who are getting the bigger penalties,” Richards says. The top premium to date has been above $20,000; the highest penalty amount thus far has been around $25,000. Despite some dissatisfaction from penalized growers, no changes to the Crystal policy are expected for at least a couple years. Its impact was partially clouded by the very wet 2009 harvest in the Red River Valley, and company ag management wants to review and evaluate its usefulness under “more-normal” digging conditions. “Our goal is simply to reduce the amount of tare,” Richards emphasizes. n the southern Red River Valley, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative has had a financial incentive tare policy in place since 2005. In June, the MinnDak Board of Directors amended the policy in an effort to encourage growers to decrease further the amount of tare dirt delivered along with their
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
beets. Changes include the elimination of the “neutral zone” for computation of payments/charges and moving from an overall cooperative average to individual station averages (similar to American Crystal) for determining payments/charges. Under the new Minn-Dak policy, the payment/penalty rate is 15 cents a ton per 1% of tare deviation from the station average. Tom Knudsen, Minn-Dak’s vice president-agriculture, says the cooperative’s operations department estimates dirt/mud handling costs to be $1.00 to $1.50 per ton of beets delivered. “That does not include transportation costs to haul the mud from the storage piles to the factory, or the losses in storage that can be attributed to mud,” he adds. “Mud is the new ‘bully on the block,’ ” Knudsen continues. “It slows down harvest at the receiving station; it detracts from long-term storage goals; it adds to transportation costs, reduces efficient processing — and, in the end, causes lots of handling and storage issues once it leaves the [factory] process. “Until sugarbeets grow on a bush, mud will always be a problem,” Knudsen remarks. “Everyone agrees it is best to leave it in the field in the first place.” Like American Crystal, Minn-Dak is hosting lifter clinics this summer, featuring industry experts providing growers with tips on how to fine-tune their operation to reduce tare. MinnDak also is instituting an idea contest among its growers and their employees to share ways of reducing tare. o the south, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative has had a tare dirt premium/penalty policy in place since 1998. The SMBSC program operates on a company-wide basis, however — not station-by-station. Also, “our range from top to bottom is divided into thirds,” reports Ken Dahl, Southern Minn’s agricultural superintendent. “The middle third is ‘neutral,’ the ‘better than average’ third gets a premium, and the ‘poorer than average’ third receives a reduction in payment.” As at American Crystal and MinnDak, the Southern Minn tare program is in effect only during the main harvest season, not in prepile. Dahl says the dollars involved in the SMBSC premium/penalty program basically equate to the “actual dollar amounts we could identify that the increased tare cost us in such areas as reduced slice rate, reduced extraction,
‘Until sugarbeets grow on a bush, mud will always be a problem. Everyone agrees it is best to leave it in the field in the first place.’ tare disposal costs, and so forth. “When we instituted the policy, we did have growers making changes in their harvest equipment [to reduce the amount of tare dirt} — which is what we wanted,” Dahl adds. hile other beet cooperatives don’t currently have a financial payment/penalty tare policy in place, they typically have some sort of policy to encourage growers to minimize tare as much as possible. Western Sugar Cooperative, for instance, has worked proactively with grower associations in its operating areas to set tare limits in each area, says Mike Hofer, the Denver-based coop’s vice president-agriculture. “Once a shareholder truck exceeds the tare limit three times in a day, that contract (field) is no longer allowed to be weighed by the scale computer. The shareholder must then start harvesting in a different field.” Hofer says the objective behind Western’s policy is to let growers know early on in the harvest if they are not meeting tare standards, thus allowing them to adjust their lifters and/or operating procedures to correct the problem. “The policy has been very successful,” he adds. “It has reduced tare delivered, which results in cleaner beets in the pile, better piler performance and better truck turn times.” Western Sugar has not established a financial premium/penalty system similar to the Red River Valley cooper-
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
atives. “The penalty of shutting down for the day — or having [the grower] switch fields — is perceived as a bigger penalty when you are trying to harvest a crop,” Hofer observes. Amalgamated Sugar Company’s contract with its grower/stockholders in Idaho and eastern Oregon does not reward or penalize the grower for his tare. “Return dirt from the piler cleaners is hauled away by the grower association, and the grower is charged a per-ton fee for this service,” explains John Schorr, Amalgamated’s corporate director of agriculture. “Loads of beets can be rejected for excessive tare, because the grower agrees to deliver clean beets.” Michigan Sugar Company does not currently have a premium/penalty policy on tare dirt, either. However, it is a topic that likely will be addressed at grower/shareholder meetings this coming winter, indicates Paul Pfenninger, the co-op’s vice president-agriculture. “We have discussed this issue with our grower relations committee and our board,” he says. “But we believe it is too early to implement a premium/ penalty without first educating and working with the growers.” In a related vein, Pfenninger says he is looking forward to the time when sugarbeet varieties with the “smooth root” characteristic will be grown commercially. The smooth-root trait eliminates a lot of the feeder roots that in turn create the surface that allows soil to adhere to the root. “The genetics are available, but industry-wide, we have not been able to maintain the quality — especially in sugar content — in most smooth-root varieties,” Pfenninger notes. “Smooth-root releases have been made, but not yet successfully crossed into a commercial sugarbeet variety.” — Don Lilleboe ■
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Dateline: Washington Roundup Ready Litigation On April 27, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the Roundup Ready® alfalfa case. As you will recall, the beet sugar industry filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court to present our industry’s views on key legal issues in the case. On June 21, the Supreme Court, in its first decision involving biotech crops, overturned (by a vote of 7-1) a lower court’s order that has prohibited farmers from planting biotech alfalfa. Retiring Justice Stevens was the only dissenting vote. This ruling could allow USDA to permit interim planting of the crop while it completes an environmental study. The beet sugar industry is pleased with this significant ruling and how it might impact the biotech sugarbeet process as we prepare for the next phase of court proceedings. The alfalfa ruling focuses on and clarifies the process of biotech approvals. Importantly, the Supreme Court’s ruling on biotech alfalfa does not presume that an injunction on planting biotech crops would be automatically issued if a biotech approval is challenged. In the Roundup Ready sugarbeet litigation, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has asked both the plaintiffs and the defendant/defendant interveners to submit briefs to the court on our respective views as to the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the sugarbeet case now pending before the court. Plaintiffs’ briefs were
By Luther Markwart Executive Vice President American Sugarbeet Growers Assn.
filed on July 6, and the defendants’ briefs were filed on July 14. Given the additional time required for the filing and consideration of the briefs, the court rescheduled the July 9 court remedy hearing to August 13.
Sugar Market June estimates by USDA forecast U.S. sugar inventories at the end of September at 10.7%. That would leave 1.1 million tons of sugar in inventory, which is tighter than in previous years. On June 11, the domestic beet and cane industries, along with sugar users, called on USDA to announce next year’s minimum imports (which are fixed under the 2008 farm bill) so they can be physically available for entry on (but not before) October 1. On July 6, USDA announced an increase in raw sugar imports of 300,000 short tons of raw sugar for the current fiscal year. The U.S. Trade Representative has allocated the imports to 25 countries that have the ability to ship sugar to the U.S. before September 30, which is the last day of the 2010 fiscal year. This is both a timely and reasonable amount of imports for this peri-
od to keep the market in balance when domestic inventories are at their lowest. This announcement comes on top of an April 27 announcement of additional imports of 200,000 tons of raw sugar. These two announcements come at times when there is much greater certainty about both the supply and demand in the marketplace. The uncertainty of what Mexico will ship to the U.S. is one of the main factors that require USDA to make adjustments to imports later in the fiscal year. USDA is managing the sugar policy as prescribed by the 2008 farm bill in a proper and thoughtful manner.
2012 Farm Bill Hearings The House Ag Committee has been holding preliminary hearings around the country and in Washington, D.C., and subcommittees also are beginning to hold hearings in D.C. The Senate Ag Committee held its first hearing on June 30. Whenever and wherever appropriate, beet and cane producers are testifying to both the importance and effectiveness of the current sugar policy.
USDA is managing the sugar policy as prescribed by the 2008 farm bill in a proper and thoughtful way.
By mid-June, half of the states had conducted their primaries, setting the stage for November elections. In the House, candidates for 243 contests (56% of all House seats) were determined, and 14 of the 34
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
Senate seats (41% of the 100 total) were selected. We are always trying to identify political trends, given the issues of the day. High unemployment, continued housing sector problems, frustration over bailouts, staggering federal deficits and debt, two prolonged wars, health care legislation, climate change proposals, and an environmental disaster in the Gulf are just some of the key factors on the minds of voters. Add to all of this the publicity and perceived influence of the Tea Party movement, unexpected congressional retirements, and reactions to Democratic leadership in both Houses and the White House. So what have the primaries revealed? The electorate remains “quirky.” There is no clear, distinct trend that you can count on right now. For the most part, most congressional districts were drawn to favor either the Democrats or Republicans, so massive structural shifts are unlikely. In the last election, some Republican districts went to the Democrats out of frustration with
the Bush Administration. Clearly, these are the most vulnerable districts, and it is likely some of those will swing back out of frustration with the Obama Administration. As a result, Democrats will lose seats in both the House and Senate — but no one can predict with certainty the extent of the losses. To retake the majority, Republicans need to keep the seats they have and gain 40 in the House and 10 in the Senate. The American attention span for election activity is short, which is why both parties save their best arguments and strategies for after Labor Day. Perhaps you can appreciate the views of one historical observer who captures the American voter’s thinking today. He said, “The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. The assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.” — Cicero, 55 BC
Check Us Out! Renovated & Rejuvenated
www.sugarpub.com he word “excited” tends to be overused when it comes to companies or individuals talking about a new product, service or program that they’re offering. But I truly am excited about what we’ve done of late with the Sugar Publications website — www.sugarpub.com. And I hope readers of The Sugarbeet Grower will check it out. Once you do, I think you’ll return again and again. Sugar Publications is the publisher of The Sugarbeet Grower and the Gilmore Sugar Manual (a biennial technical reference book focusing on U.S. sugarcane mills). The Sugarbeet Grower has been published and distributed to the nation’s beet community since 1963. Gilmore actually dates back much further, celebrating its centennial edition in 2010/11. Most of the updated, expanded Sugar Pub website revolves around The Sugarbeet Grower. Among the features you’ll discover are: • Full digital copies of current and past issues, including all articles and advertisements. • A Google sugarbeet news feed consisting of up-to-date worldwide sugarbeet news live on our home page brought to you from “Google News.” Check back for the latest news!
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
So what have we learned in 2,065 years?
2010 ASGA Cleavinger Intern Many thanks to Ashlyn Gurley, a senior from the University of Michigan, for all of her great work this summer. Ashlyn conducted a great deal of important research for our industry that will be very useful as we prepare for the next farm bill. As always, it was a great opportunity for her to work closely with our staff and learn the many aspects of association work in Washington, D.C. We thank Bayer CropScience for helping to fund this important program that helps our growers.
Mark Your Calendars ASGA’s 2011 annual meeting will be held February 6-8 at the beautiful Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Ariz. Meeting details, links and information will be updated regularly on the ASGA website — www.americansugarbeet.org — with online preregistration coming soon. ■
• Weather station reports and forecasts for every U.S. sugarbeet factory district. • Links to U.S. sugarbeet processors, sugarcane mills, major sugar organizations and sugar-related government agencies. • Complete advertising details for The Sugarbeet Grower and for www.sugarpub.com. • An informational page on the Gilmore Sugar Manual, including details on our upcoming 2010/11 edition. • You can also stay updated on news from the sugar world by following us on twitter@sugarpub or by going to www.twitter.com/sugarpub. ’d like to thank Rick Rea, business development manager for Forum Communications Printing (owner of Sugar Publications), for his role in updating and improving www.sugarpub.com. Rick has been instrumental in conceiving and implementing its features, and we’ll continue to work with him to expand the site’s offerings even further in the coming weeks and months. So I invite you to log on and visit www.sugarpub.com. I’m confident you’ll like what you see! — Don Lilleboe
30 Years Ago NDSU-UM Beet Program a Million Dollar Connection — “Take dedicated researchers and extension workers, adding willing cooperators, blend in sugar factory interest, stir well with liberal amounts of funding to conduct needed research, and you have a prize-winning recipe. From modest beginnings — 1961 grower contributions to research were $4,000 — support for sugarbeet research has continued to increase in line with an increasing technology. Beet grower funding broke the $100,000 mark in 1975. The 1980 budget was $200,000, making total contributions about $1.2 million. “Much of the credit for the outstanding sugarbeet programs in extension and research in the Red River Valley and Renville, Minnesota, areas goes to the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board of Minnesota and North Dakota. “This 15-member board is charged with the responsibility of developing the most effective research and education program possible for the Red River Valley sugarbeet industry. The board has seven grower members, two scientists each from North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, two [sugar] cooperative management representatives and one USDA member. “This board meets several times each year to review present research and extension efforts and to consider new programs. All board activities are funded by checkoffs from sugarbeet growers. These check-offs will be a maximum of 3 cents per ton of beets produced this year. . . .” Snow on Halloween: No Treat for Sugarbeet Growers (Gibbs & Soell Public Relations) — “When growers were forced to curtail fall land preparation due to last year’s Halloween snow, little did they know that mere inconvenience was only the beginning of the problems. The drought which followed this spring and summer was the worst on record for the Red River Valley area, according to Dr. Alan Dexter, extension weed control specialist for North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. “ ‘Although beets were having a hard time breading the surface this year, weeds were right there anyway,’ Dr. Dexter states. Because sugarbeets are planted in the top one to one and a half inches of soil, and weeds germinate from two to three inches below the surface, weed seeds have the competitive edge due to slightly more moisture. “ ‘Many herbicides did not work well — or at all — because most of them, especially pre-emergence herbicides, must have adequate rainfall in order to be activat-
Excerpts from the August 1980 Issue of The Sugarbeet Grower
ed. This is why the drought meant little or no weed control,’ Dr. Dexter explains. ‘Those growers who used preplant incorporated herbicides such as Eptam found greater weed control because it performs without total reliance on rainfall.’ “ ‘Fall application of Eptam proved to be more effective than spring application’ Dr. Dexter adds. ‘This was because the ground was not exposed to drying in the spring when moisture was at a premium.’ ” Studies Reveal Sugar Waste (from The Sugar Association) — “Sugar consumption figures for the U.S. have long been a matter of confusion. The question of ‘How much sugar do we eat?’ has attracted so many different responses that the subject demands further attention. “To begin with, there are no actual sugar consumption figures available. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides disappearance figures that reflect total deliveries, as opposed to actual use. They do not account for spillage, spoilage, fermentation and waste. “The USDA disappearance figures for sucrose have hovered close to 100 lbs. per capita over the past 60 years, with 1979 estimates a little lower, at about 91 lbs. per capita. “A recent study of sugar use and water in the Finnish food industry reveals that an estimate 12% of sugar deliveries are lost as a result of spillage, fermentation, handling and other waste factors. “Considering similarities in standard of living, methods of food production and levels of technology, the Finnish findings can provide parallel estimates for the U.S. “Finnish companies were surveyed in 1978 to establish the amount of sugar used as a raw material and the percentage of it that is wasted. (Sugar in this study is sucrose from sugarcane and sugarbeets.) “Because of the extremely varied applications of sugar among different industries, there was a wide range of waste figures reported. For example, sugar waste in the confectionery industry was calculated to be 4.13%. The bakery industry, on the other hand, reported a total waste figure of 32%, reflecting 26.73% lost to fermentation and 5.15% to handling, spillage and other waste. The soft drink industry [in Finland] averaged 3.50% total sugar waste, while sugar used by breweries totally disappears, producing a 100% waste figure. . . . “It is very important to remember that these waste figures represent waste estimates at the manufacturing stage only. They do not reflect spillage, spoilage and plate waste at home or in restaurants or institutions, such as schools and hospitals.” ■
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
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site: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/weeds/ herbicide-resistant-weeds. Plants can survive a glyphosate application for many reasons, points out NDSU/UM weed scientist Jeff Stachler. “The greater the diversity of species and the more uniform the response of plants surviving a glyphosate application, the more likely plants are surviving due to reasons other than glyphosate resistance,” he advises. “The greater the continuum of plant responses — from dead to normal-appearing plants — especially when observed in just a single species, the more likely plants are surviving due to resistance.” Glyphosate resistance can be difficult to identify, he adds, due to low-level resistance. When visiting the mentioned website, go to “Scouting for Glyphosate Resistance.” Two videos are available there. The longer version includes an introduction about resistance and also demonstrates the continuum of plant response. The shorter version demonstrates the continuum of plant response. Growers suspecting they may be seeing glyphosate resistance in their fields can contact Stachler by calling (701) 231-8131 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org ■
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THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) July/August 2010
U.S. Sugar Policy & Recent World & Domestic Price Movements Source: USDA-ERS July Sugar & Sweeteners Outlook he goal of the U.S. sugar program is to provide support to domestic sugar crop producers while assuring adequate supplies to meet domestic demand at reasonable prices. The program uses price supports, domestic marketing allotments and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) to control the amount of sugar in the U.S. sugar market. The TRQ fixes the amount of sugar that can enter the U.S. market (currently about 15% of consumption demand) at low import duties. Although sugar can be imported from other countries outside the TRQ, high duties must be paid that make the cost of sugar to the consumer prohibitively high. Also, due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), sugar produced in Mexico can be imported at zero duty without quantitative restriction. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 farm bill) introduced additional restrictions on U.S. sugar imports. The 2008 Act stipulated that the sugar TRQ be established at the beginning of the marketing year at the minimum level required to comply with international trade agreements approved by the U.S. Congress. Before April 1 of the fiscal year, the sugar TRQ cannot be increased unless an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster or war, causes a sugar shortage. After April 1, if a sugar shortage occurs, regardless of the cause, sugar imports can be increased by the Secretary of Agriculture, provided that there is no conflict with the price support aspect of the sugar program. (Continued on Next Page)
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THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) July/August 2010
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he U.S. sugar situation in 2009/10 has been difficult. The marketing year began in October 2009 with sugar stocks lower than normal. Production failed to fully recover from its poor showing from the year before, mainly due to poor sugarbeet harvest conditions and lower-than-expected sugarcane production in Florida and Texas. Sugar imports from Mexico, which had been well over a million tons in 2008/09, were down substantially due to lower-than-expected production and lower-than-normal beginning-year sugar stocks in Mexico. As explained above, sugar imports under the TRQ were set at minimum mandated levels. High world sugar prices provided exporting alternatives to countries that normally export sugar to the United States under the TRQ. Although the Secretary of Agriculture has increased the TRQ by 500,000 short tons, raw value (STRV) since April 1, projected stocks at the end of the marketing year are still at historically low levels. As a consequence of short supplies, U.S. sugar prices increased and remained above corresponding world prices in order to remain attractive to TRQ exporters. The accompanying bar graph (above right) shows the growth in domestic and world raw sugar prices and the margin between them from July 2009 through June 2010.* Both domestic and world prices increased from July 2009 rate through February 2010, but the domestic growth exceeded the world growth rate. The margin between the prices was about 5 cents per pound in July-August 2009 2010. and grew to about 12 cents in January-February
* The Secretary of Agriculture increased the TRQ by 300,000 STRV on July 6, after the period shown in the figure.
No. 16 Nearby U.S. Raw Sugar Price & Relationship to No. 11 World Raw Sugar Price, July 2009-June 2010
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Since February, world prices have decreased more than 40%, while domestic prices have decreased only about 20%. The margins between world and domestic prices in the late spring are more than 16 cents/lb. â€” more than three times as high as in summer 2009. The margin between the prices has grown even as world prices have declined. Domestic U.S. sugar prices are affected by world prices, primarily to keep the United States competitive in attracting TRQ imports. Beyond this relationship, conclusions about world prices influencing domestic prices are harder to sustain. The increasing price margin over the period reflects growing domestic market concerns about supplies being sufficient to meet demand through the remainder of the 2009/10 marketing year. â–
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THE SUGARBEET GROWER (Upper Midwest) July/August 2010
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The Japanese & Chinese Beet Sugar Industries A Production, Trade & Consumption Overview By Peter Buzzanell* oth Japan and China are significant producers of beet sugar. As in the United States, beet sugar production in these two Asian nations is complemented by cane sugar. Domestic demand for sweeteners is growing in Japan and China, and — again like the United States — overall sugar use is supplemented by corn sweeteners and artificial sweeteners. Since neither
country is self-sufficient in sugar, both are large importers, with each averaging more than one million tons of sugar imports per year.
— Japan — Beet Sugar Production Steady Japanese beet sugar production is expected to total 700,000 metric tons in
2010/11. That’s similar to the annual average of the past five years and accounts for more than 85% of the nation’s total sugar productiona. Japan’s sugarbeet agriculture is concentrated on the northern island of Hokkaido. As in the United States, beets are rotated with other crops, such as grains and potatoes. About 64,000 to 67,000 hectares (158,000 to 165,000 acres) of sugarbeets are harvested each year, with yields during the past five years averaging 63.6 metric tons per hectare (about 28.4 short tons per acre) — up nearly 10% from the early years of this decade. Sugar content of the Japanese beet crop averages slightly above 17%. The crop cycle begins each spring when growers transplant beet seedlings from greenhouses into fields. While very labor intensive, this planting method avoids delays caused by the generally harsh spring weather on Hokkaido. Beet harvest begins in early October, with the crop sliced at one of eight processing facilities. Two of the beet factories are owned by the Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Societies of Hokkaido; three others are owned by the Hokkaido Sugar Company; and the remaining three by the Nippon Beet Sugar Manufacturing Company. Japan’s annual production of cane sugar is about 100,000 metric tons from 23,000 hectares (almost 57,000 acres). Sugarcane agriculture is concentrated in Kagoshima Prefecture and Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan, which together contain a number of
* Peter Buzzanell is director of Peter Buzzanell, LLC. Over the past decade his consulting firm has concentrated on U.S. and international sweetener analysis. Prior to his retirement from USDA, he headed the Economic Research Service’s (ERS) sugar and sweetener analysis unit. The author wishes to thank John Dyck, senior economist on Japan at ERS, for his help in preparing this article.
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
Sugar Market Influenced by Several Factors Japan’s sugar consumption for 2010/11 is forecast at 2.1 million metric tons — which is on par with the past five-year average. The lack of bullish growth in consumption is due primarily to (1) a gradual decline in Japan’s population to 126.8 million and (2) a drop in annual per-capita sugar use to 16.9 kilograms (about 37.3 pounds). Other contributing factors are the competition from high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and imports of sugar-containing products (primarily cocoa preparations). The manufacture of confectionery products accounts for about 25% of Japan’s sugar consumption, with the remainder going to miscellaneous uses. Similarly to the United States, the substitution of HFCS for sugar in carbonated soft drinks resulted in the loss of that market segment. Japan’s production of HFCS in 2010/11 is expected to total 625,000 metric tons, dry basis, according to the consulting firm LMC International. Over the past several years, Japan has imported more than 16.5 million metric tons of corn annually, with the U.S. supplying 99% of that volume. Twothirds of the corn imports are for live-
The Japanese sugarbeet crop cycle begins each spring when growers transplant beet seedlings from greenhouses into fields.
small cane mills. The harvest runs from October to January, with the cane crop’s sugar content averaging between 13.1 to 14.3% in recent years. Japanese farmers receive a guaranteed minimum price for their beets and cane. The aim of the nation’s sugar policy is to support domestic beet and cane producers — as well as sugar refiners — by keeping domestic prices stable but considerably higher than world price levels. Each year, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sets the minimum price according to the Sugar Price Stabilization Law of 1965 and the Sugar Price Adjustment Law of 2000. Farmers’ beet and cane crops are purchased at harvest by beet processors and raw cane mills at the support price. The 2010 unit price for sugarbeets is 2,150 yen ($23.40) per ton.
stock feed use, with the reminder going to food manufacturing (including the production of HFCS for the soft drink market). Multiple facilities produce corn sweeteners in Japan. HFCS plants are located on the major islands of Hokkaido, Kyushu and Honshu, with a particular concentration in the Nagoya area. Nagoya has easy access to corn imports, is centrally located and enjoys excellent transportation links to the major population center on Honshu. Consumption of artificial sweeteners — e.g., aspartame and sorbitol — in Japan has been growing. Diet soft drinks are a major user, as are food product manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry. Large, Steady Raw Sugar Imports Japan has, for many years, ranked among the world’s major importers of sugar. For 2010/11, the nation’s raw sugar imports are forecast at 1.5 million metric tons, accounting for about two-thirds of expected sugar consumption. Averaged across the past five years, raw sugar has comprised 1.4 million tons of imports, with only marginal amounts of refined sugar being imported. Leading suppliers of raw sugar to Japan are Thailand, Australia and
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
South Africa. In calendar 2009, these three countries accounted for 97% of total imports, with Thailand alone supply nearly 60%. Raw sugar imports, along with domestically produced raw cane sugar, are refined at multiple refineries in Japan — many of which have a very small refining capacity.
— China — Beet Sugar Production Expanding China’s production of sugar is forecast to reach 14.0 million metric tons in 2010/11, of which 12.9 million tons are cane sugar. The beet sugar production forecast of 1.1 million tons, while nearly double that of 2009/10, is comparable to the most recent fiveyear average. Sugarbeet agriculture is concentrated in three regions: the provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin in northeast China; the province of Inner Mongolia in north central China; and Xinjiang in northwest China. A long-term trend has seen beet production shifting westward, as the northeast region faces increased competition from imports. The upturn in sugarbeet production for 2010/11 over the prior year is attributable to a larger planted area spurred by higher prices (favorable compared to various other crops) and
Photo: Kevin Bigger / Germains Seed Technology
Farm workers control weeds in a northeastern China sugarbeet field. improved yields. Sugarbeets in the main growing areas compete each year for acreage with crops like soybeans, cotton and tomatoes. If the average yield forecast of 39.3 metric tons per hectare (17.5 short tons per acre) holds true, 2010/11 beet yields in China would be up 12% over 2009/10. The two most recent five-year averages have been 38.3 and 27.3 tons per hectare, respectively. There is a chronic lack of quality seed available for the Chinese sugarbeet sector. Plus, the government devotes little funding for seed research. Despite the general upturn since the early 2000s, Chinese sugarbeet yields aren’t much more than half those in the United States and Europe — thus indicating great potential for seed improvement in years to come. Planted sugarbeet area declined significantly during the early 2000s — a reflection of a decline in the govern-
ment’s procurement price. Also, many beet processing facilities in China went bankrupt as the industry was plagued by numerous small, inefficient stateowned processors. Additionally, the government wanted to encourage farmers to produce other crops, such as vegetables, melons and potatoes. The provincial governments in China’s main sugarbeet producing areas currently are working to standardize the pre-purchase contracts that beet farmers sign with processors. The objective is to more-accurately project output and manage cash flow. Sugarcane production in China is concentrated in the country’s five southern provinces: Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong, Hainan and Fujian. Guangxi alone is estimated to account for two-thirds of China’s annual sugar production. Total sugarcane area in China is currently estimated at 1.85 million
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hectares (nearly 4.6 million acres), with this year’s yields forecast at 70.3 tons per hectare — thus amounting to total cane tonnage of 130 million metric tons. According to China’s Sugar Association, there are between 250 to 300 operating sugarcane mills and nine cane sugar refineries. The industry estimates average sugar recovery at between 12 to 13%. According to USDA, in order to ensure reasonable income for cane producers, the southern provincial governments of China announce a pre-set purchase price for the crop. This price serves as a guide to mills when they purchase sugarcane from farmers. The purchase price of sugar generally falls at the beginning of the cane grinding season. In Guangxi, that season starts in November and typically runs for about 150 days, into April. At the request of provincial governments, the central government purchases refined sugar to hold as state reserves during the processing season in order to boost prices. Sugar Consumption Expanding Chinese sugar consumption for 2010/11 is forecast at a record 15.5 million metric tons. That compares with an average of 13.6 million tons during the previous five years and just 8.7 million tons at the beginning of the decade. About one-third of all sugar is consumed at home or in food service, with the other two-thirds utilized by the food processing industry. The largest users of sugar are soft drink makers, food manufacturers (especially candy and biscuit/cookie companies) and the pharmaceutical sector. The near-doubling of Chinese sugar consumption across the past decade is a reflection of population growth and a buoyant economy. As living standards and diets have improved, sugar consumption has trended upward in line with the rapidly growing food and beverage processing sectors. Current percapita use of sugar is estimated at 11.6 kilograms (about 25.6 pounds) — a 70% increase over the 6.8-kilogram level at the beginning of the decade. Sugar consumption growth would be even greater, were it not for the expanded use of corn sweeteners and artificial sweeteners, as well as certain culinary and food-choice patterns. Fairly low retail consumption numbers (reflecting in-home use) are due to several factors. Chinese cooking — particularly in the country’s northern regions — uses relatively little sugar. Also, there’s a growing health consciousness in urban areas that empha-
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
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sizes reduced consumption of sugar. Finally, retail sales levels are affected by the growing trend in eating out. Marketing of sugar in China is primarily conducted through three channels. The largest consists of direct sales by beet processors or cane sugar refiners to major industrial consumers (e.g., soft drink manufacturers). The second market channel includes the dispatch of salesmen throughout China to market directly to local industrial buyers and large retailers. Wholesale markets comprise the third major market channel. In 2000, the Chinese government began a major restructuring of the sugar industry to increase its efficiency. The National Light Industry Bureau initiated a reform plan aimed at reducing the number of refineries by 25%. The plan called for the closing of all small-scale beet sugar processing plants in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang. The number of small, inefficient sugarcane mills and refineries also was to be reduced. Growth in corn sweeteners was initially sparked by high sugar prices. According to industry sources, the use of corn-based sweeteners in 2008/09 was equivalent to about 3.5 million metric tons of cane sugar. An estimated 85% of corn-based sweetener production is located in Hebei, Jilin and Shandong provinces. The consulting firm LMC International estimates that Chinese production of HFCS grew from 71,000 (metric) tons, dry basis, in 2003 to 1.1 million tons in 2009. Along with more demand, this sector has been aided over the past decade by government policies that have favored the expansion of the corn processing sector. With sugar prices on the upswing, LMC believes HFCS margins likewise are on the rise, and the immediate outlook for this sector in China looks positive. A share of potential growth has been absorbed by artificial sweeteners — particularly saccharin and aspartame, as they were cheaper and easier to handle than sugar, allowing the soft drink and confectionery industries to reduce production costs. Due to health concerns, however, the government has sought to limit the use of saccharin
In 2000, the Chinese government began a major restructuring of the sugar industry to increase its efficiency. 18
and cyclamate. A survey by the China Consumer Association found that artificial sweetener use has regularly exceeded national guidelines. Imports Large & Steady Chinese imports of sugar for 2010/11, as forecast by F.O. Licht, are expected to be up by one-third from 2009/10, with raw sugar imports forecast at 1.3 million metric tons and refined sugar imports of 200,000 tons. Imports usually begin arriving in China after the domestic processing season ends and the domestic price starts to increase. The previous five-year average of raw sugar imports was just over 900,000 tons per year, with that of refined sugar at 260,000 tons. The expected upswing this coming year is a reflection of demand growth outpacing increases in domestic production. Cuba has remained China’s leading sugar trading partner, providing about 450,000 metric tons of raw sugar annually under a longstanding bilateral agreement. Other raw sugar suppliers include Australia and Thailand. For refined sugar, South Korea is the leading supplier. Under terms of its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), China agreed to open tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for sugar imports. The TRQ initially was established at 1.6 million metric tons, rising to 1.95 million over a four-year period. Calendar 2009’s out-of-quota rate was 50%. As stipulated in China’s WTO accession agreement, 30% of the total TRQ is reserved for use by private traders and 70% by state-owned enterprises.
Overview: Japan & China There are a number of similarities between the sugar industries of Japan and China. Both have significant beet sugar industries located in their extreme north and cane sugar industries in the extreme south; and both are supported by government policies. Likewise, production expansion has been constrained by generally weak seed sectors. Sugar consumption is expanding in China, reflecting population growth. Consumption in Japan is stagnant due, in part, to a fall-off in population. In both countries, sugar demand has had to compete with corn sweeteners and artificial sweeteners. Finally, both Japan and China import about 1.5 million metric tons of sugar per year to balance production deficits with demand needs. ■
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
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Around The Industry Idaho Strip-Till Meeting & FIeld Demo Set for Aug. 26 Amalgamated Sugar Company is hosting its third annual strip-till seminar and field demonstration day at Burley, Idaho, on Thursday, August 26. The event begins at 10:00 a.m., at Morey’s Steakhouse in Burley with a panel discussion and comments by participating strip-till implement manufacturers. Following lunch, activities move to the field, with demonstrations featuring each manufacturer’s equipment. Participants include Schlagel Manufacturing, Twin Diamond Industries (Strip Cat), Orthman Manufacturing and Northside Welding. Also being demonstrated this year is the Omni Track system, designed to eliminate “guess row” fluctuation when using a strip-till unit and a planter that are of different sizes (e.g., a sixrow strip unit and a 12-row planter). For more information on the August 26 Burley strip-till event, call Amalgamated Sugar’s Robert Downard at (208) 731-3970.
Richards, Newcomb Begin New Crystal Agronomy Mgr. Posts American Crystal Sugar Company announced two district agronomy manager changes, effective as of July. Greg Richards, the company’s former ag strategy development manager, is now agronomy manager for the Moorhead and Hillsboro factory districts. Richards, who has been with American Crystal for 21 years, is an agronomy graduate of North Dakota State University. He was senior agriculturist prior to becoming the co-op’s ag strategy development manager. Tom Newcomb, previously the Moorhead/Hillsboro agronomy manager, now is in that capacity for Crystal’s
Donald Carson, executive vice president of Florida Crystals Corporation and its parent, Fanjul Corporation, was named “Sugar Man of the Year 2009” during a May luncheon of the Sugar Club in New York City. Carson is the 52nd recipient of the prestigious Dyer Memorial Award, named after the founder of B.W. Dyer & Company, a 107year-old brokerage company in sweetDon Carson eners and foods. Carson, who also serves as vice chairman of his company’s subsidiary, American Sugar Refining, is a North Carolina native who earned bachelor and law degrees from the University of North Carolina. Since joining the Fanjul Corporation in 1978, he has worked in its operations in sugar, renewable power generation, resorts, hotels and real estate development. Carson, a director and past president of the Florida Sugar Marketing Association, has served as a director of the Sugar Association, the American Cane Sugar Refiners’ Association and the Florida Sugar Cane League. He also has been a member of the U.S. sugar industry’s Mexico Task Force, has chaired industry forums working on national farm legislation, and led an industry team that negotiated the Everglades restoration plan.
CropScience: (1) better stand counts and more recoverable sugar; (2) a chance to win a trip to the 2011 American Sugarbeet Growers Association (ASGA) annual meeting in Tucson, Ariz.; and (3) a chance to win an Apple iPad®. Kerry Grossweiler, Bayer CropScience product manager for seed treatments, says, “Growers who use Poncho Beta for control of secondary pests and improved stand establishment have a good start to the growing season and the makings of a sweeter world. Now when they go online to learn more about Poncho Beta, they will not only learn more about the benefits of controlling secondary pests, but they can also enter to win one of five prizes that will sweeten their lives even more and help them learn more for their farming operations.” The Sweeter World Sweepstakes will award one qualifying grower the grand prize – a trip for two to the 2011 ASGA meeting. Four first-place winners will receive a new Apple iPad. The grand prize trip package includes roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations for five nights, a spa or golf day and conference registration. The first-place prize iPads come WiFi enabled, so growers can access websites for weather, commodity prices and more out in the field. “Attending the ASGA annual meeting is an opportunity for a grower to learn about the newest products, practices and industry issues,” adds Grossweiler. “Bayer CropScience is proud to offer a variety of learning experiences and tools to sugarbeet producers, in addition to innovations like Poncho Beta.” Sugarbeet growers can enter the Sweeter World Sweepstakes online at www.ponchobeta.us/sweeterworld.com from August 2 through October 31. Winners will be selected and announced in November.
Bayer CropScience Announces ‘Sweeter World Sweepstakes’
RRV Sugarbeet Museum’s Harvest Festival Is Sept. 12
How many ways can Poncho Beta seed-applied insecticide make a sugarbeet producer’s world sweeter? With the Sweeter World Sweepstakes, there are now three ways, says Bayer
The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum in Crookston, Minn., will celebrate its 6th annual Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 12. The event kicks off with a pork din-
Drayton factory district. Newcomb joined the company in 1989 as assistant chemist. He later served as head chemist, agriculturist and senior agriculturist. Newcomb earned a B.S. degree in biological science from Mayville (N.D.) State University.
Cane Sector’s Carson Named 2009 ‘Sugar Man of the Year’
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
ner starting at 11:00. Sugarbeets will be harvested with restored equipment from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Newly restored this year is a 430 John Deere unit with grab roll changeover kit. Numerous pieces of sugarbeet equipment will be on display all day, including a just-located 1959 Erdman harvester that features what perhaps is the earliest scrub chain. Other activities include wheat threshing with a steam engine, cutting grain with a binder and horse-drawn wagon rides on the museum grounds. For more details, visit the museum website: www.sugarbeetmuseum.com.
GTG Now Known As Germains Seed Technology Germains Technology Group announced in early July its relaunch
nerships this benefits all involved.” For more information, visit www.germains.com.
as “Germains Seed Technology.” During the extensive process, the company surveyed its customers as to what their needs were of a seed technology company. Germains said it also incorporated its employees’ input as “key to shaping our future.” “This has been an extremely exciting opportunity to listen to all our stakeholders and position ourselves to be the world’s number one seed technology provider,” said Paul Mullan, managing director. “I truly believe Germains has the vision to lead the seed technology industry, and through strategic part-
BASF ‘Stamina’ Supplemental Label Includes Sugarbeets BASF has received supplemental labeling for use of its Stamina® fungicide seed treatment. A number of crops, including sugarbeets, are included in the supplemental label. “Growers have seen Stamina provide outstanding disease protection,” said Chris Exton, BASF’s seed solutions marketing manager. “The supplemental label for Stamina gives seed producers and their grower customers additional opportunities to control diseases on a wider variety of crop.” For more information, visit www.agproducts.basf.com. ■
A Government Program That Worked Too Well! By Dennis Searle*
had a hard time trying to decide on the best title to use on this article. I liked “What Are We Doing To Ourselves” or “If You Think The National Debt Is Going to Devastate Our Posterity, Read This.” I settled on the current title because to me it is the most correct and it is quite unusual for a government program to be so successful. The program I am talking about is the college land grant and extension program legislated in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 established land grant colleges, and the SmithLever Act of 1914 established the cooperative extension service in every county. These were established to help agricultural producers — through research and extension education — produce more for less. What a success! This country has done so well that we are growing more for less and on fewer acres. In fact, our country has an obesity problem. The catch is we have gone from a 98% political base with the population understanding where their food comes from, to a 15% political base with the majority of the population not knowing where their food comes from and really not even caring. Some folks in this country view agriculture as bad for the environment. It is amazing some of the things you can read that “educated” people have written.
Recently, I read a publication from the National Research Council. It was titled “Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century.” The publication addressed the need, because of a growing world population, to continue to produce more for less. In fact, they indicated that producers and researchers need to pick up the pace because the growth of the world population food and fiber needs is increasing faster than production. About the same time, I read an article in the Weed Science Society of America publication titled “The Battle to Build a Sustainable Agricultural Workforce.” The author of this article indicated that we are running out of researchers and agriculturists in general. The current work force is at or close to retirement age, and there is no one in the system to replace him or her. Young people are not interested in an agricultural career.
o let’s put this type of information into some kind of current context: • How many of the legislators on the agricultural committees know and understand anything about agriculture? • How many land grant college presidents and deans of agriculture have a good understanding of the needs of agriculture?
* Dennis Searle is the ag services manager for Amalgamated Sugar Company.
THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
Education of the public, of legislators, of college presidents and deans of agriculture is the only way to turn the current trends around.
• When money gets tight, how many of these people understand the implications of inadequately funding their agricultural programs? • How much help can agriculture expect from a population that has no idea where its food comes from and the implications of that food’s production? Here are some of the things that I see happening. Nevada has removed its college of agriculture from the university system. Idaho is struggling to keep its experimental stations open. Oregon believes that because the local producers benefit from the research, they should pay 25% of the operating costs of that station. (Remember that producers are already contributing money to the scientists doing the research.) This is not just a Northwest issue. I know there are various other states struggling with these same issues. Are these actions sustainable? My concern is that they are not. I feel that there is a need for every member of an agricultural group or organization to be more politically involved. The squeaky wheel gets the attention. The leadership of these organizations has always carried the load, but they are no longer enough. Education of the public, of legislators, of college presidents and deans of agriculture is the only way to turn the current trends around. We all must be more involved. The story needs to be told. The current political atmosphere in this country is not directed to a sustainable agriculture in the 21st century. Somehow that needs to change. ■
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I said, “I need some winter To clean this messy shop.” Most times she will bite her tongue; This time she couldn’t stop.
There’s that wheel off of my planter, It made the final rounds. But as I finished seeding beets, It made some awful sounds.
She pointed out, “It looks the same All year from fall to fall.” If winter brings more cleanliness, She just can’t tell at all.
The sprayer hoses are swelled up And cracked from too much sun. I knew some year they’d have to go, I guess this is the one.
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Lawn mower blades to sharpen up, A weed eater out of string. To look across my shop you’d think We had broken everything.
I know this winter I’ll clean up. On my list that’s near the top. Or maybe what I really need Is a slightly bigger shop.
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David Kragnes farms near Felton, Minn. He is a former chairman of American Crystal Sugar Co., and currently serves on the board of directors of CoBank.
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THE SUGARBEET GROWER July/August 2010
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