Michigan beet crop could be threatened by warm weather

Lancaster Pennsylvania Open Farmland and Field

The same warm weather that allowed the Michigan Sugar Company to take in a record-breaking harvest may be threatening those same beets, as they sit in storage, awaiting processing.

Ray Van Driessche is the director of community and government relations for Michigan Sugar Company. He said the size of the yield was unbelievable.

“We ended up with over 5 million tons of sugar beets, an average of 31.6 tons to the acre which is just an unbelievable yield all the way around,” he said.

Now though, the warm weather could threaten the storage of this record breaking crop.

“We certainly would like to see the temperatures a lot cooler than what they are,” said Van Driessche. “Ideal storage conditions for sugar beets is anywhere from the twenty-five to thirty-five degree range”

Van Driessche said that although the weather has not been ideal, the warmth would be far worse if it were accompanied by a freeze.

“Fortunately the good thing that we have going for us is that we haven’t had any hard and deep freezes which would make that beet freeze and then warm temperatures that would make it thaw out. As you know if you take a vegetable out of the freezer and let it thaw out it deteriorates quickly. That is the same impact it would have on our beets that we have sitting in piles.”

Van Driessche said they hope to have the beets sliced by the 1st of April.