A beet harvest to remember

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WILLISTON, ND - With November approaching, farmers are harvesting one of their most prized crops: Sugar Beets.

It's been a harvest to remember.

"We had heat shutdowns and we had cold shut downs and we had moisture, rain, we had a little bit of everything. We had a thunder storm. We had a thunder and lightning storm. That's the first time I can ever remember that," said farmer Jeff Bieber.

To make matters worse, when farmers were preparing to harvest, mother nature had other ideas.

"It definitely was a huge challenge for us just starting harvest. It rained two and a half inches when we wanted to start, so we were delayed for about a week just getting going. This place gets really soupy and wet and we can't get trucks across the profile," said Kathryn Cayko, agriculturist.

The added moisture will cut into the sugar content.

"We had a lot of moisture going into the harvest, and that puts a lot of water weight into the beet and lowers the sugar content," said Bieber.

But overall, the crop rebounded from what looked like a disappointing year.

"The crop didn't look that good until September, then all of a sudden, it's like it kicked on," said Duane Peters, Agriculture Manager

And while the sugar content isn't as high, they're making up for it in volume.

"Right now, the crop looks phenomenal tonnage wise. We're looking at a 32.5 ton average, which would beat our record last year of 32.3," said Peters.

There will be 25,000 tons of beets stored every day at the Sugar Valley
Farmers are hoping to have the harvest wrapped up by next week.