Ontario’s approximately 85 sugar beet growers are likely to benefit from announced updates to the Michigan Sugar Bay City plant.

Last week, Michigan Sugar announced a planned US$65 million upgrade to one of its four sugar beet processing facilities. The upgrade includes a de-sugaring addition for molasses, which will help the company improve overall sugar capture from each tonne of feedstock.

Ontario produces sugar beets on 10,000 acres per year in Chatham-Kent and Lambton counties. All the production is shipped to Michigan Sugar.

Rob McKerrall, chair of the Ontario Sugarbeet Growers Association, says that Michigan Sugar’s ability to increase the extraction rate of sugar from the molasses benefits all growers by adding to their sugar payment.

Harvest of the 2021 sugar beet crop began today (August 26), as per Michigan Sugar’s directive. For the next few weeks, farmers will be informed of which fields to harvest to keep the Michigan plants running efficiently. After Canadian Thanksgiving, the remaining acres will be harvested and piled for winter storage.

McKerrall anticipates it will be an above-average production year for growers.

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