The Sugar Beat
As the temperature cools down, domestic sugar production is heating up thanks to excellent weather conditions.
Throughout the past year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has steadily increased its projections for domestic sugar supplies. And based on the early production of this year’s harvest, it looks as if the rise might continue.
Farmers were mostly pleased with last year’s crop despite weather challenges, such as early frost and rainy harvests. In fact, last year’s crop was bigger than anticipated and led to higher than forecasted surplus stocks.
But it doesn’t hold a candle to the harvest underway, where producers have been blessed with generally favorable weather conditions throughout 11 beet and four cane states. The USDA estimates that the current harvest will exceed last year’s by nearly half a million tons, and the year before by almost a million tons.
"Personally, I think this is the best crop I've seen in my whole life," said Colorado sugarbeet producer Paul Schlagel.
From the Midwest to the Northwest, beet farmers are already lining up to deliver their crop at receiving stations.
In Idaho, beets are averaging about 17.6 percent sugar content, a percentage that is considered to be far above average according to the Amalgamated Sugar Company.
In Florida, the cane harvest got underway last week—despite the damp backlash from Tropical Storm Nicole—giving 50 year-old Florida Crystals Corporation added cause for optimism during its anniversary.
Louisiana sugarcane officials say that because of the great conditions, this season's crop, which will be harvested through December, will have a positive impact of nearly $2 billion on the state’s economy.
All of this good news is welcomed by industrial sugar users. Combined with the 1.6 million tons of surplus sugar currently stored around the country, a bumper crop will ensure that there will be plenty to make sweet treats in 2011.
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