Plymouth--Outside of New Plymouth Idaho, in Payette County, a high-tech harvester digs this year’s sugar beet crop. Not since the turn of the century, two decades ago have growing conditions been this tough. Beet Producer Galen Lee:
"We had a dry spring and a lot of heat this summer and a lot of smoke again, we've had several of the past few years," said Lee.
That smoke is affecting this year's crop, the heat also is having an impact—but through it, all the beet crop is looking good:
"They've sized up really well, they look good. Beets are a little bit more adaptable to some dryer conditions than some other crops are because they are deeper rooted, so the size looks good. We will know what the tonnage is when these all get delivered. And when the sugar gets back we will know that is, but right now I don't have any numbers," added Lee.
Preliminary numbers from the Associations show a very mixed crop, but a crop that farmers can depend on this year.
"The crops adapt and do well, Like I say, sugar beets are a little bit more tolerant to drier conditions, they still need water obviously, but more tolerant they'll weather the storm and get through it. I think the price will be about the same as it has been, is what they are projecting. If your tonnage is still good, the sugars are up there, the check should be about the same. We have a good stable sugar program and it keeps the price at a stable place," said Lee.
Idaho Farmers planted almost 180-thousand acres of sugar beets this year they hope to harvest top last year 40.5 tons per acre. A lofty goal but they'll take the stable crop; in a challenging year.