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Ag Brief: Crystal Sugar: Beets may go under the knife

American Crystal Sugar Co. for the third year in a row has warned growers they may need to destroy some beets in the field to prevent storage losses in an excessively long processing campaign.

David Berg, Crystal's president and chief executive officer, confirmed to the Herald that members last Friday received letters warning them to be prepared, even after the co-op already cut back beet plantings in 2008 by nearly 15 percent.

In the letter, Berg didn't announce when the company will make a final decision. "We have to do it by the start of the stockpile," Berg said, referring to the full-scale harvest that still is scheduled to begin Oct. 1. The board holds a regular meeting Sept. 24 and could make a decision then. Crystal has plants in Moorhead, East Grand Forks and Crookston in Minnesota and in Drayton and Hillsboro, N.D.

Crystal's board in March 2008 decided to cut plantings for 2008 after two consecutive years of larger-than-expected crops. -- Grand Forks Herald

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