A sweet fall: Alberta Sugar Beet Growers host annual harvest tour – Lethbridge

Sugar beets are a booming enterprise in southern Alberta and with the season coming to a detailed later this month, the Alberta Sugar Beet Growers shared its candy data on Friday’s harvest tour.

“I like the business. I’m allergic to grain and dirt, so that is the one place I don’t sneeze,” laughed Gary Tokariuk, president of Alberta Sugar Beet Growers.

Tokariuk can be a third-generation farmer. His grandfather purchased their farmland in 1928, the place he began rising sugar beets about 20 years later.

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Sugar beets are used to make refined sugar. However because the business evolves, so are the methods we use the beets.

“We’re taking a look at new makes use of, like protein from the leaves,” mentioned Tokariuk. “So there’s numerous new makes use of that we’re taking a look at to attempt to broaden the acres and produce extra beets.”

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For Indiana Ham, a 10-year-old from Edmonton who got here along with her mother, it was her first time seeing a sugar beet.

“When she informed me that I used to be going to strive a sugar beet I used to be actually excited as a result of I’ve by no means seen one earlier than,” mentioned Ham.

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Ham was desperate to pattern a uncooked sugar beet throughout the tour.

“Once we have been taking samples I obtained a second attempt to I picked the most important one on there,” she mentioned. “They’re like consuming a carrot however then it’s candy. It doesn’t have that carrot style. It’s crunchy however candy.”

Every season Tokariuk crops round 52,000 beets per acre on his 135 acre area, which yields round seven million beets.

And that’s solely a portion from the province. In response to the Alberta Sugar Beet Growers, over 900,000 tonnes of sugar beets have been delivered final yr. Virtually double from the 465,018 tonnes in 2019.

Learn extra:
Severe drought in Alberta brings on early harvest

Regardless of the drought that hit Alberta this yr, Tokariuk is optimistic. His land is irrigated. They have been allotted 16 inches of water this summer season, which was utilized with a pivot.

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“In the event you went to the dry nook the place the top gun doesn’t get, you’ll see what occurs,” he mentioned. “There’s no beets there. So [water is] crucial. We made it this yr with our allocation.”

Sugar beets are persistent as soon as planted. A farmer’s largest worry is frost.

“When you get it previous the frost and all the pieces, you’ll be able to’t kill a beet,” laughed Tokariuk. “So as soon as they’re up and going, it’s nice. You might have all of the hardship to get them going, however as soon as they’re going then you definately’re away.”

As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there was no manufacturing unit tour included within the annual sugar beet harvest tour.

© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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