Sugar Producer

June/July 2010 Sugar Producer

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MY MEMORIES ECONOMICS DRIVE CHANGES by Dennis Searle | AG SERVICES MANAGER—AMALGAMATED I started my career in the sugar industry on a fine March day in 1973. Back then we were planting at about a 3-inch seed drop and using hand labor to thin the beets and keep them weed free. We thinned to a 12-inch spacing or 100 beets in a hundred feet. All of the planters were plate planters 6-rows wide. RoNeet, treflan and Eptam were the herbicides being used. The fieldman was responsible for settling labor disputes between the labor crew and the grower. Powdery mildew was the new disease in town. We used 40 lbs. of sulfur dust to con- trol it. The Sugar Act had been discontin- ued prior to my coming to work. There was a lot of uncertainty as to how the industry was going to survive without a Sugar Act. We harvested using two- and three-row digging machines. There was a mixture of lifter loaders and tank machines. We loaded into 8-ton single axle trucks. There were a few 10-wheelers, but not many. We began harvest the first week in October and completed harvest in the good harvest years right after Thanksgiving, in the bad harvest years we could go as late as Christmas. Pioneering That was the beginning. But as time moved along changes began to happen. The changes at first were not noticeable unless you were looking you would assume it was business as usual. At some point in time post-emergence contact herbicides came into the market and growers eventually started relying quite heavily on them. Labor began to 17

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