Michigan sugar beet harvest could set a sweet record

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BAY CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan sugar beet harvest could set a record this year.

Michigan Sugar is anticipating 34 tons per acre from roughly 900 farmers, up from a record of 31.6 tons in 2015, MLive.com reported.

The state’s beet-growing area covers roughly 20 counties and includes much of the Thumb region.

“Once again, our world-class growers have done a phenomenal job caring for their sugar beets and, with a little help from Mother Nature, we will now reap the benefits,” executive vice president Jim Ruhlman said.

“With such a large crop in the field, the harvest will be long, tight, and somewhat unusual,” Ruhlman said. “And once the beets are harvested and piled, then we have to get them sliced.”

Michigan Sugar was considering whether to ask growers to leave some beets in the ground.

“We don’t want to run into a situation where our harvested beets are decomposing beyond a usable state in the piles,” Ruhlman said.

Michigan Sugar, based in Bay City, markets sugar under Pioneer Sugar and Big Chief Sugar brands.

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