Beets Late, Round Up to the Rescue
University of Idaho Extension agent Jerry Neufeld told the Capitol Press that everything is behind and beet acreages are expected to be below the 5-year average and down from 2008. But the late planting doesn’t have farmers worried, almost all are using Round Up Ready seed.
David Dixon of Wilder says last year’s season was identical to this year but Round-Up takes a lot of worry out of the beet crop.
“Last year we started out with a thin stand late but in in the end we did very well. The beets were able to overcome the late start, thin stands and grow all season long, I was impressed with that," said Dixon.
Nearly all of Idaho's sugar beet crop is now Roundup Ready, the genetically modified seed costs more but farmers can plant later and cut labor and fuel costs.
"It adds up to about 4 dollars an acre," said Dixon. "Where we really made our money was the fact that we had a good crop. We would have had a disastrous season in 2008 with the late planting and the weed pressure. We had healthy beet fields, they yielded well considering the start that they had."
Bill Sigrist with the USDA’s Statistics Service says Idaho farmers have planted 166,000 acres of beets thus far, "We’re a little behind."