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Sidney , Montana
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November 16, 2016     Sidney Herald
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November 16, 2016
 

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! B WEDNESDAY, NOV. 16, 2016 Ilarvest SIDNEY HERALD IIY llEliflE Jug P,J EAN@WILLISTON HERALD.COM There were ups and downs from Fairview to Savage and points in between and all around, but, despite that, area beet farmers say they had a good year for sugar and tonnage, even if the sugars weren't as exceptional as last year. Sidney Sugars is report- ing the harvest as 33.4 tons per acre, which is a new record, and 17.69 sugar content -- a great year despite weather and other challenges, such as the wash-out of a canal for the Lower Yellowstone Irriga- tion Project. In Savage, Cody Tibbetts, who is farming withhis, brothers Brock and described it as a smoo year, and thanked the Col- lective communityall their efforts. ~:: "You have anyone from the hotels and RV camp- ground where the harvest help stays to the bars and restaurants that help feed the help on late nights, and you have the people who sell tires, the people who sell diesel fuel, and you have by far the busiest time of the year for local truck repair shops and all the convenience stores where they get snacks," Tibbetts said. "When you do a beet harvest, you rely on so many. It's a team effort." That team effort ranges from helpers who come to town to those in the community itself, and includes everyone from those manning the Intake Diversion Dam to County Road departments, as well as researchers helping develop new beet varieties, new strategies for weed control and other issues that affect the harvest. "We owe a whole lot to betts said. "So it's not just the beet farmers and the factow. It's a wide impact." Tibbetts also thanked the agriculturalist working with them, Todd Erickson, and the four to five people who came to help them with their no-till beets, in- cluding a Kalispell woman from California. No-till beets are a little unusual, Tibbetts admit- ted, but they have been able to make that work thanks to pivot irrigation. "Everyone's situation is different," he said. "We do it where we can in some places." His rotation often in- cludes some no-till corn, but no wheat. Close calls for the season included low levels on the Yellowstone, which made keeping the beets wet a challenge sometimes. Their early beets had the warmest and best germi- nation conditions -- as op- posed to the Fairview area where early beets faced a week of cooler tempera- tures during germination, which is a critical Point. There were some storms including hall, but the damage to his fields was minimal, Tibbetts said. "We were more fortunate than others who were hit harder," he said. "You just have to be optimistic out here that things will work out and come out of the damage, and we were fortunate." Tibbetts and his brothers are relatively new to the beet scene, having been primarily in cattle before. They are still doing some of that, but are pleased so far with the addition of beets to their operation. "The roundup tolerant genes made us feel that we could handle the weed management, and perhaps before we felt it was too intensive to handle the ii i i~I iii ~i!i~I ~ i RENff JEAN I SIDNEY HERALD Scoff and Donna Flynn pose far a photo with their family dog, Yuki, an American Akito. They are fanning in the Fairview area. An early week of low temperatures and rains reduced their stand, and there was hail damage later as well as the washout of o canal to contend with. Despite the ups and downs, however, the crop came out oil right in the end. the seed researchers and weed management along the field, he added, nor his not allowing the beet to de elo ers because these • own come out and establish the beets ire amazli g," Tit) things, Tib eits saiii. "It We'usewa less chemi ,-ta aswe are used to. So is nice to have a cash crop cals on Roundup Ready we had some fields withand spring wheat. He has you can deliver and not beets than we do non-GMO what I'd consider erratic two sons in college, but it have to worry about stor- beets," Tibbetts said. "The or reduced stands." hasn't been decided yet if ing and marketing or in misconceptions on that are A hail storm came alongthey will take over for him. the case of feed, doing the baffling to me. I see these after that and hit about Flynn likes to try out a feeding." people complaining thathalf his sugar beet acres few new varieties every GMOs have been a game- the Roundup Ready gene is sometime in June. Many year. The two that did well changer in the beet indus- causing us to use so many fields recovered well, but a for him this year included Tibbetts said, and he chemicals, but it is the few did not. The dam wash- Beta 437 and Crystal 498. wishes the general public complete opposite." ing out delayed watering He said they will likely understood them better. In the Fairview area, for a time, but was ulti- grow more of those next "The thing most under- Scott Flynn had his crop mately timely enough for year in the fields where stand locally is that there in the ground earlier than a pretty good harvest. He they seem best suited, is no genetic material usual, but cooler tempera- estimated losing just 2 to 3 phasing out some of the left in the sugar once it is tures came along and rains tons per acre over previous older varieties. processed, so there is no added to that problem, averages. "You have to evaluate science lab that can tell the "When the seeds had "The good Lord blessed for yourself what is best," difference between sugar sprouted and they were us with quite a crop," he he said. "We have a lot of made with GMO and non- trying to come up, the said. "I don't think anyone different soil types, and I GMO. There are no genes temperatures cooled so anticipated having as large guess irrigation types, and in the sugar." much they lost some of a crop as we did." each variety has its own Claims that more chemi- that vigor to come up,"Flynn is a fourth genera- strengths." cals are being used now Flynn said, "and then tion farmer in the valley, He's also trying out don't match up with area with that rain event, some starting after he returned some cover crops this year, farmers' experiences in crusting happened. It was from college in 1988. He which includes radish, grew his first crop start- turnip, Austrian winter ing in 1989 or 1990. 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