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Sugar beet harvest predicted to be average after record volumes in 2021

Sugar Beets msu extension
Photo provided by MSU extension / Daniel Bublitz
Sugar beets piled on the edge of a field.

Michigan Farmers began harvesting sugar beets this week.

This year's harvest is predicted to be average or above average, according to Michigan State University field crop specialist Paul Gross.

In 2021, Michigan saw a record yield for sugar beets.

“Last year's crop was a huge crop, but because it was so warm, the sugar content was really low,” Gross said.

To maximize sugar production, Gross said a cool fall is ideal for this year's harvest.

He said damp soil is good for sugar beets, but too much moisture can be hard to work with.

“Beet harvest is a process that puts a lot of equipment into the field, and wet soils are really a detriment to beet harvest,” he said.

Michigan sugar beets are primarily grown in the thumb. Gross said this year's harvest will likely continue until November.

Jill Harrington is a senior at CMU majoring in journalism and minoring in theatre and interpretation. Jill grew up in Novi, Michigan and started reporting for WCMU in summer 2022.