The harvest of sugar beets is underway, despite a late start due to unfavourable weather conditions.
The Alberta Sugar Beet Growers (ASBG) estimates more than 780,000 tonnes of sugar beets will be harvested from across southern Alberta over the next four to six weeks and delivered to Taber for processing and refinement.
The Roger’s plant in Taber is the only place in Canada producing domestic sugar.
“Initial results on the quality are really good,” ASBG president Arnie Bergen-Henengouwen said.
But not without a scare. Bergen-Henengouwen said the recent snowy and wet weather pushed harvest back by up to 10 days.
The dry conditions across southern Alberta during the summer months also created struggles.
“Many of our growers experienced less than two inches of total rainfall through the whole growing season,” he said. “The crop typically uses 16 inches of precipitation and that shortfall all had to be made up by irrigation.”
Now Bergen-Henengouwen and the southern Alberta beet farmers are asking Mother Nature for just a little bit more of that dry weather.
“We need three good weeks without any more moisture and relatively moderate temperatures.”
If everything goes according to plan, ASBG says almost 100,000 tonnes of refined sugar will be processed by mid-February.