Sugar Producer

May 2010 Sugar Producer

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their field information. I am also in charge of the productivity of the Tare Lab. I have two full-time mechanics that take care of the maintenance and make sure everything runs during the seasonal campaign. They go by the names of Marvin Krosch and John Wheeler. I hire Brent Peterson each fall to organize and manage the crews. We run operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the peak of the harvest. There are three crew supervisors that report to Peterson. My final job duty is gathering the information and articles for the grower’s magazine we print twice each year. Q A Q A How long have you been doing this? What is your background in ag? I have been an Ag Services Manager since January 2007. Prior to that I was a fieldman from 1973 to 1989. I was given the agronomist position in 1989 until 2007. What did you do before? Where were you raised? I was raised on a farm southeast of Bur- ley. On the farm we grew sugarbeets, dry beans, alfalfa hay, silage corn, some beef cattle, a few pigs and milk cows. I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Boise State Univer- sity, and a Master’s degree from The College of Idaho. While earning my bachelor’s degree I worked full-time at the Holiday Day Inn on Vista Ave. in Boise. I watched the current interstate road as it was being built. Back then when we saw three cars at any one time it was a large number traveling on the interstate. I received my bachelor’s degree in 1971 and I also received my induction letter from Uncle Sam. I went to work for Uncle Sam on a part-time basis in 1971 and then went to work for The Amalgamated Sugar Company full-time in 1973. I retired from Uncle Sam’s employment in 1991. I am still working for The Amalgamated Sugar Company LLC. Q A Robert Downard, (orange shirt) Amalgamated Agriculturalist was instrumental in organizing a strip-till demo in the Burley/Rupert, Idaho area. Standing next to Downard, Dennis Searle, the charis- matic ag manager, was also on hand to offer assistance. Name three major changes you have witnessed in the sugarbeet industry throughout your career. The three major changes I have seen in the industry are: 1) Planting to stand; 2) Roundup Ready sugarbeets; 3) Strip-tillage. Planting to stand has allowed growers to get away from the frustrations of dealing with labor. It has also shown us that we were going with too thin a stand. We used to thin the beets a foot apart. Now, we have found that we need somewhere around 150 beets in 100 feet to get ideal productivity. It has increased yields and sugar content. Roundup Ready Sugarbeets has taken the drudgery out of growing beets. Now a grower can spray a field two-to-three times and not have to worry about weeds. It has also allowed us to get away from hav- ing to cultivate which saves growers time and is just as important as saving them money. Strip-tillage is a relatively new practice that is still trying to find it’s place and will become very beneficial to the industry. This practice helps extensively in reducing erosion, saves replanting due to wind, saves fields that are lost in the spring due to wind, helps conserve moisture, saves fuel costs, saves time in the field, saves on soil compaction and makes growing beets more interesting. (Tilling and planting in one pass is very interesting.) WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR GROWERS THIS YEAR? The advice I would give growers: 1) Watch your nitrate levels. We are using more nitrogen than the crop needs. Get your crop history from the crop consultant. 2) Strive for 150 beets/100 ft, even if it means adding more seed. It looks expensive, but you cannot harvest something that is not there. 3) Pay closer attention to your irrigation needs. Do not over irrigate. 4) Be timely with your Roundup applica- tions. A strip-till trial conducted at the Kimberly, Idaho U of I research station. 15

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