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The Culture of Agriculture Episode 2: Sugarbeets

Jim Chapman from Chapman Seed and Consulting

Brent

Welcome to The Culture of Agriculture brought to you by Spudnik Equipment. Like welcome everyone to this week’s The Culture of Agriculture with Spudnik Equipment. Today we’re excited to have Jim Chapman with us. And he is with Chapman Seed and Consulting LLC. Yes, sir. And we’re grateful for your time today. I know this is a busy time of season and you got you just got off a phone call with a grower. I did. I did some things, especially with this interesting year. But yes, you would like to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about it. I’m Brent Rigby, I’ll be the host today and just appreciate being having the opportunity to be with you.

Jim

Absolutely I’m I’m I feel humbled and privileged to be here Brent. So yeah, born and raised in well, not born but raised in American Falls from the time I was in kindergarten. And my father and grandfather and great grandfather before me were were potato growers and sugar beet growers and, and so I think it was 1977 I rented 10 acres of flood irrigated ground for my neighbor I was in high school and took 1967 Chevy one ton drove to Ashton and I had to see bought it in bags. They would bag up you know 1 ton truck worth a seed for me. And I drive it back on Friday night and I plants spuds on Saturday and Sunday and get one of my high school buddies to ride ahead I had a 2 row John Deere pick planter. I bought from the neighbor for I think 50 bucks, polish the picks up and anyway that was that was how I got started farming. I went to college in engineering and then came back to the farm in 1984. And started raising potatoes and and cattle and and we had a hay and grain operation. My family farm was 160 acres we still live on that today. It was something my great grandfather purchased and and so farmed until 96. In 1997, I went to work for Amalgamated Sugar as an agronomist. The Co-op had just been formed. And the Liberty area had bought in they hadn’t raised beets other than Mike Driscoll who had continued to raise beets and freight to Aberdeen but everybody else was kind of new growers. And so Amalgamated threw me into that fire they hired me and so I kind of got the beets going here and liberty and and worked for Amalgamated Sugar for nine years so the coop and then I started my own business Chapman Seed and Consulting and and we’ve been doing that now for like this is 17th year and in 2014 I started a second company with the grower up here in Blackfoot called Desert Sunset Ag and we started building dykers to go on sugar beet planters row crop planters grain drills, spuds, things like that. So So I yeah, I come from an interesting perspective because I’ve been on both sides. I worked I raised sugar beets for Amalgamated and well yeah it was Amalgamated Sugar not not the Snake River Co Op at the time and then joined the co op and then went to work for the co-op as an agronomist and and now I consult on on sugar beets and corn. So,

Brent

so do you work quite a bit with the co op?

Jim

I do. I do have a great relationship. I mean, they’ve got a great, I mean, they’ve got a great agronomy staff. I mean, we’ve got in the upper sink, we have Troy Warner, Brandon Bowen and chase Williams great guys, you know, really professional and in in their approach, Amalgamated is has made under the leadership of Pat Laubaucher who came on I don’t know how long Pat’s been here but he took the coop from the agronomy side and really, really transformed it into you know, I think, you know, just a top notch from a coop supporting the growers point of view, I mean, they they’re doing a lot more research, they’ve got programs that growers can get on and on and on there. Phone and log information and as such as fertilizer applications and seed and things like that, and they’re getting information back, when I worked for Amalgamated, they collected a lot of information. Yeah. And my God, you know, once you turned it in you, no one ever seen you no one, it never went anywhere. And that’s the thing about information, it doesn’t do you any good to collect it, if you’re not willing to go through it over the winter and find out, you know, doesn’t matter whether it’s, you know, programs like climate view, or field view, which are great programs. I mean, they’ll collect a lot of information. But you have to kind of you have to dive into it. After the season, if it’s going to be a value of collecting it. And that’s and that’s kind of what Pat Laubaucher did with with Amalgamated Sugar. And now they’ve got a VP of ag Brody Griffin, who’s I mean, he’s an outstanding and man, I mean, the grower speak very highly of him. And and I think the world love him. I mean, they have a great staff, I work really well with them. They invite us to their research days to set up our dykers display, we’re one of the few, if not the only commercial companies that are invited to their research field they so Yes, wait, I have I have a tremendous, yeah, worked for him for nine years. I have a lot of friends there. And it just have a great relationship with with the Co Op, and they’ve done very well.

Brent

has been interesting over the years now that’s changed. Oh, yeah. And how you just can’t jump into a beet. You can’t just jump in and start planting beets. No, you’ve got to be in that organization to be able to even

Jim

yeah, there’s no there, you know, that’s what’s really makes sugar beets not unique in the United States is is that they’re all cooperative owned. And so you don’t have this issue with high, you know, we get some high sugar beet prices. The Coop sets the acreage and and and, and you can go ahead and grow sugar beets, anybody’s Welcome to grow sugar beets, but they’re not going to sell them. Right. They don’t have a home to form to go. And so it really is. Yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a very solid industry. You know, back in 1996 97, when the coop was formed, Beet shares in the Upper Snake. So well cross company sold for about 400 bucks a share. A share gave you the right to raise one acre. Now in the Upper Snake, if you could find some to purchase, I think you would be close to 4000

Brent

That’s yeah, it’s really changed in that. And they’re, they’re really sought after if Oh, man. Yeah, yeah, it is. It’s been one of the commodity is very even keel. And you kind of know your inputs going in there. And you kind of know what your return is going to be. Especially with yield potential that we have today. Yeah, when he 30 years ago,

Jim

well, I think the bankers really like sugar beets. I mean, you know, there’s a saying out there that says the potatoes by the Cadillacs, the sugar beets pay the mortgage. And that’s, you know, there’s a lot of truth to that.

Brent

And the wheat. We just Dennis? Yeah, the wheat.

Jim

That’s good. Now, you know, there’s a lot more attention being paid to wheat this year, then. And thank God, you know, it’s it’s really nice being in this critical water shortage that we’re facing right now with the drought that we have, you know, a commodity like wheat that we can raise. And, you know, just it wasn’t that many years ago. You couldn’t make any money at it. No, no,

Brent

well go back into the 80s in the 90s. struggled with

Jim

it, what prices in 1985 I think I saw wheat for like a buck 96 or something like it was I remember that. Yeah. Set aside program and the pig program and

Brent

you paid enough to keep you going. Yeah, exactly.

Jim

So it’s nice to see. Yeah, it’s it’s, it’s just good for it’s good for all of us. It’s good for Spudnik it’s good for Chapman Seed and Desert Sunset Ag and, and, and, and, you know, the pickup dealers and the all the equipment dealers, when agriculture does well, yeah. And so, you know, and I think that, you know, our point of view, you know, and I’ve always taken this approach, I grew up on a farm. So, you know, I farmed, and, you know, worked for the coop, and now, you know, with Chapman Seed, I think, you know, it’s, it’s always and that’s, you know, what I tell my kids and my employees, I say, Listen, it’s always in our best interest to help these guys do the very best they can, you know, if even if we’ve got to give up short term profit, we’ve got to look down the road. And and, you know, because we’ve been here 17 years, I hope we’re here, you know, 70 more and And but to do that we need to make sure that our customer bases successful.

Brent

Yeah, they, when they’re successful, the rest of the work. Yeah, exactly. And that’s the exciting part, even in a community, that seems like in a community where the farming is lively, and it’s going at dollar terms, three, four or five times, yeah, for every dollar they make, and it’s huge. All Yeah,

Jim

yeah. You know, that’s, that’s my dad who served in the potato industry for for his his career, I’ve served in the sugar beet industry. But his his, his notion was, if you need any economic stimulus, don’t give it the automakers just give it to farmers. That’s true, because they spent they will spend it so. So that’s

Brent

well, now that’s, it’s great. Thank you for giving us a history of where you’ve been and where you’ve come and like said, we’re really excited to have you Yeah, it’s good to be here. We’re gonna kind of visit a lot about sugar beets today, which I think is an exciting crop. It is. What I guess one of the questions maybe out of the gate is what the how do you feel last year when what did you see kind of special? I know, we had some interesting circumstances with you know, kind of how did the crop begin Obviously, last spring to kind of through the summer, and then we’ll go into the kind of this year but how did you feel last year went and some of the things that we need to be looking for this year,

Jim

you know, the the thing that was probably the biggest challenge I felt for sugar beets going into the spring was we just had we didn’t have any some moisture. I mean, we were you know, I’ve been you know, chasing sugar beets for 30 some years now raising them and and 10 and after him as a field man and consulting on them. And I had never seen a spring where we came out with our soil moisture profile. So I mean, we were we were just dry. I mean, we were you know, we just we didn’t have any winter moisture. We were you know, we went in and the fields didn’t work up well. Then we got started off with a really beautiful beautiful first couple 10 days and and the Easter I remember we were talking about we you know, we had the family we had the grandkids over for Easter this year. And we were like last Easter we were out in the backyard it was you know, a couple of weeks earlier and the kids were running around in in T shirts and and and this Easter we hid the eggs in the house because it was cold it was cold and and so so we started off really good but we didn’t have much moisture so we were fighting getting the planters getting our depth because sugar beets you want them you know half an inch no deeper than three quarters so it’s you’re talking and when it’s dry it dries out it’s it’s really difficult so so we were getting beets in and we were turning the water on them and and putting in the water to him so that we could get them going and then it turned off cold and and we lost you know a few 1000 I think it was the fifth of April last year was the date everything that was planted before the fifth there were a few exceptions but pretty much everything before the fifth April had to be replanted but after that you know they came up April was cold and May was cold I mean we were off on growing degree days and and we got you know we got to the end of May and and we had a frost and had been cold and then three days later is like somebody flipped the switch and we were we were kind of we had been digging in the beet fields and we you know with our with our guys were out there when they start working and we’re watching the packers and kind of helping them get those set and then we we get the planter said so we were well aware of what the water so we were you know we were running four and a half five hours sets across the beets you know running four hour sets with two rolls or three and a half hour sets with two rolls we were we were trying to sock some sub sub in to get to Yeah, every time we went across we’re like we need to add a little bit and but even then when June hit we were we were barely where we needed to be barely and and man all of a sudden the systems went on and we consult on corn and we have kind of the same issue with corn man once we got it in the ground and and we pre irrigate corn. But once once June hit man no systems ran Yeah. And never stopped. We just could not. We could not get a day off. And you know I don’t know what the measure of measurable precipitation was in June and June and July but it you know where I live it was less than a 10th of next enough. Yeah. And and so,

Brent

but going back to what you’re talking, you know you’re trying to catch up. Obviously we have handlines We aligned pivots, some of that what? What systems? Did you see work the best last year?

Jim

Yeah, you know, there’s, I don’t know that it’s so much a system yet and pivots will work right if their package right then and if they’re run correctly. And you know, a lot of guys, I think the biggest mistake a lot of guys made last year that had pivots that I saw was they would go out with a third of an inch or, you know, too fast and go too fast. And, man, it put a third of an inch down and the way the wind blew last year, it was gone before the pivot got back around there again. And, and so we had some, you know, there’s dry sprout, which what happens is, is, you know, at a half, half an inch deep to three quarters of an inch deep with beet seed, you get water to it, and get the germ started, and then the wind blows, and it dries it out. And that radical emerges is, you know, it’s smaller than human hair. And if it, if it doesn’t, get out of the ground, it doesn’t make it if it does not get moisture, it will dry up and die. And and so we had, you know, we lost some acres later on in the season, not to frost but but guys, yeah, and, you know, it’s I’ve always told guys, man, once, once you put that beet seed in the ground, you’re committed, don’t, don’t look at the wind, I mean, you got to get water on or if you don’t get water on him, the mice will get him because we do have mice, you know, especially if there’s habitat around, you know, rock piles or canal right away as your train tracks, you know, the mice will come out and they, it’s interesting. I have been in beat fields where the mice have gone down every five and a half inches plucked every seed out, shelled it out, like we do sunflower seeds. A full roll full half mile, one end of the field that come out on the canal bank and take that row. Two rows next to it are fine. And then the third one there, buddy got on.

Brent

It’s amazing. Do you wouldn’t think they go that far away?

Jim

No, they’re incredible. They I mean, they can and dry conditions, make even more susceptible water is a great, great preventative action for mice. So

Brent

did you see more mice action last year than

Jim

most of our guys are? They’ve seen enough mice to last a lifetime. And and there was there’s always some you know, and and, and and you know, the windy conditions guys get frustrated because they know they need their if they don’t want to irrigate. And so it’s kind of a catch 22 You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. And and so you know, flip a coin. But you know,

Brent

important part is keep the water go?

Jim

Yeah, yeah, you gotta clean those conditions. Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

Brent

And the nice thing, usually by hand like the wheel and you put those sets, but you can also have winds dip on the

Jim

right, you can pick them up. Yeah. So yeah, but But you know, when we, when we’re consulting with pivots, we have guys that, you know, do very well on both pivots. And and we wheel lines. We don’t have too many hand lines, you know, and sugar beets are starting to disappear. Yeah, they were there when I was in high school, I can tell you that. I packed a lot of those four inch ball and socket around. I couldn’t wait for football to start because I could convince dad to let me happen.

Brent

I always said that’s what kept us in shape. We could

Jim

go to football. And it was easy. You know, that was way better than moving pipe? Yes. But yeah, it’s so yeah, it when we fire water upon a pivot, we want to try and put as much on as we can without running. And,

Brent

and usually you get that in the first part of the season. Right? Right.

Jim

Because it seems that once you know, once every time you irrigate, you’re gonna put a little less on with a pivot and then there’s, there’s a transition there all of a sudden, you know, in in late May or early June, all of a sudden now, now we can go but early season. Yeah, boy. Yeah. I mean, if you start out with a third of an inch, you start to see a laptop, you start seeing that top off and you’re gonna be in trouble, especially on a spring like last year.

Brent

Yeah, yeah. And soil conditions gonna make sense. Oh, yeah.

Jim

Yeah. So and, uh, you know, it’s, it’s interesting, you know, in, in, in, you know, in my lifetime, even back when I was Amalgamated field, man 20 years ago, we had we were a lot of guys false, but as we were plowing everything, well, virtually now we don’t just don’t plow any of our dirt. Some guys still do, especially if they’ve, you know, had to go on with a rescue treatment on spuds or something like that. We want to get that chemical down. So we get that beet established, where it can synthesize the chemical load that that may be present in the soil but And we’ve gotten more to, you know, ripping and, and

Brent

more of a potato

Jim

nail. Yeah, you want a lot of these sugar beet growers are on there like, like that plow, that slow process it is it is and and so and, and but there’s been some consequences to that too because I think that you know, we see more dirt move in the valley now than we did you know, because you know, you can, you can run your DMI or, you know, Ripper or you know, Lemkin and and and you work some soil that but it’s nothing like bring him bring a grand little bottom up to the top. And so so we’ve ended up with this soil on top that’s that’s just been topsoil for a long our topsoil for a long time. And, and in and the structures changed it back, you know, in in the 90s. We had crust busters, every beet grower had a crust Buster to go out. Yep, yep, cross grounded get tightened up, and you’d run that Crust Buster, just as those beets were under the ground, give them a crack to get through. We know

Brent

what the way we’re doing now, we don’t crust no bad because we’ve got, would you say we’re doing better as far as an organic matter on top without soil doing that

Jim

I think organic matter levels have have increased? The problem is is is is is we have we’ve accumulated a lot of fine soil on top. And that’s what I mean, I was in raft river this morning about at 830. And coming back, there was dirt moving because of the wind because of the wind and and we see fields that you know, didn’t move, you know, 20 years ago. And and and, and it’s okay. I mean, we’re learning how to, to manage that. But it’s it’s it’s a different challenge. And we have the days when it was grasping. I mean, yeah, agriculture just evolves. And it keeps, you know, there’s this domino effect or the butterfly effect, whatever, you know, you do one thing and it just kind of ripples through the whole farm and good and bad things can come from it. Yes,

Brent

no, that’s why we kind of keep records and kind of look at what we do. And like, very simple explanation so that we can analyze that at the end. Yeah. So what sort of kind of finishing up on last year again, as far as through the summer and harvest wise, any?

Jim

Oh, we man the growing degree days, just so all they took off, and we we look good, which you know, I mean, everything looked really good going into August. And and one of the things that got us in the sugar beet industry was we had this mindset of water, water water because we were just behind and we didn’t want to shut the water off and all of a sudden about 10th or 15th of August, we got rain and it was a lot of rain. And you know between me and you know I had guys raising corn up and for that man I recorded 2.6 inches up there. And it was kind of variable but it was an inch plus and we were already starting to catch up the beets were starting to slow down and the spuds were starting to slow down and and and when we got wet, which isn’t usually a big deal in August. You can just shut the water off and we’ll dry back out but not only did we get wet, we got overcast and then the smoke rolled. Yep. And that canopy was humid and it stayed humid and it stayed humid. And we found Cercospora. Really Yep. And I’ll tell you what, and for those that don’t know about cercospora it is the most detrimental damaging disease in sugar beets worldwide. It is it can it can take a crop of beets there were guys down in western Idaho who didn’t recognize it didn’t get a fungicide on soon enough and put five or six fungicides on in the field still went brown it’s it’s a foliar disease. And we’ve we’ve been very blessed here in Idaho that we’ve not had to deal with it. We’re usually drier usually drier climate is not favorable to that. But it was unfortunate part about it is is cercospora a bye by we had four guys scouting within Chapman Seed and with you know fields we we scouted we tried to get into every field in the upper snake and see if we could find cercospora and we did I mean it was in every field in the upper snake dug in 38,000 acres and an a fairly good load of inoculum. So it’s it’s it’s it’s going to be something we’re going to have to deal

Brent

with probably so we’ll probably see it or possibility of seeing this coming year.

Jim

Oh I think so. mean, if conditions, you know, if they get right at any point in time, we’re going to want to get some fungicides on and and prepare, be prepared get some protection because it is

Brent

that’s one of the things that we’re probably going into this coming year’s crop we probably need to kind of

Jim

prepare Oh yeah, we’ve already talked growers about that in our consoling group and, and said, Hey, get some fungicide lined up you better plan for at least two applications you get out to well in Minnesota and and the Red River Valley it’s it’s it’s been a devastating disease. Now. Fortunately, we have you know, we have some sugar beet seed companies here in in North North America that have been able to stay on top of this. And so they’ve they’ve brought out cercospora resistant varieties that seem to perform very well there. Since we don’t have haven’t had a cercospora we’re going to be two, three years out maybe more before we get some varieties here that have that tolerance. So we’re going to have to learn to deal with this for a little bit without without protection genetically in our in our beets,

Brent

which sometimes it keeps going on his toes out that and see it. Yeah. And then on top of that, so. So that’s so that was one of the challenges and sounds like last year, and going into this year, we’re going to have

Jim

it’s going to it’s going to continue Yep, we’re going to be you know, into July 1 August guys are gonna want to watch for those conditions, which is, you know, nighttime temps over 60 and daytime highs in the mid 80s and humidity and, you know, try to get those canopies dried out.

Brent

So what kind of yield loss when you when you’re talking about that coming in when we had it this last year? What kind of yield losses were those attributed to,

Jim

you know, so So the coop, definitely, you know, and having worked with the coop those those the field staff turn their estimates in about first week of August and to give the yield estimates and then the company plans everything out from there. I mean, okay, we need to you know, we need to start early harvest now, we’re gonna have x amount of tons and, and so all of those estimates went in and all those plans were put in and then we got not only did we have cercospora, I’ve never seen spider mites in the valley. Like what we had last year. It was incredible. I mean, it was we were trading beads for for cercospora for powdery mildew for spider mites. Wow. And, and and they took their toll. I mean, I I think this the circle between the smoke and the cercospora and the spider mites in the Upper Snake it probably trimmed a ton and a quarter to a ton and a half off a 38,000 acres. So pretty good chunk. It’s that’s a that’s not a bad chunk. I mean, that’s, you know, and and so, and it could have been more I mean, it was, but that’s kind of estimate. Yeah, I would say you know, 10 to 10 and a half. Well, that is quite a bit it is, you know, you’re talking, you know, so what would

Brent

you spider mites? Did you contribute that to the weather,

Jim

weather conditions? Yeah. Where they all came from, I would love to sit down with an entomologist and say, in in, in 30 years, 30 plus years, I’ve treated maybe three fields for spider mites. And this and this this past year, we treated almost all of them.

Brent

Wow. Well, here’s a question I in the corn. You see the spider mites come in in the corner. We do have had the experience with a chopper we were out there chopping that night and came back next morning. It was orange. Not knowing what I was doing. Jumped into work on it. Next thing you know, was not a good day. You think that has anything to do with a little bit more spider mite. Because the corn doesn’t crack.

Jim

Those are you know, I mean, we’ve we’ve kind of dealt with it in the corn and we have some years where we have spider mites and years that we don’t last year was definitely you know, one of the worst years probably the worst year I’ve seen in corn and Zott and both both Oh absolutely. I’m we had a plot up at a dairy in Firth and we we got into a riding the operator plug the machine up and so we were in on the process and I was helping him get it cleaned out. And I drove from Firth to home and I could feel those things crawling all over me. And literally down to the last article of clothing. I found spider mites on my body. My wife was back in the bedroom is getting ready to get in the shower. And I was just like this is unreal.

Brent

They multiply Oh man.

Jim

They really do. Yeah, it’s if you look at their lifecycle in three days or you know they’re laying eggs and it’s a lot it does you know it’s they’re a tough they’re a tough cookie to to handle.

Brent

Now they’re here, they’re probably going to be here. Another one that’s going to be based on weather conditions.

Jim

Yeah, the thing about cercospora though, you know, and so we had some, when we first saw cercospora up here, we contacted some breeders and one of our breed I sell beta seeds and so and they were coming down for LVT and so we got a gal by the name of Tiffany’s standing individual brilliant young woman that just understands everything and she’s kind of spearheads a little bit of of beta seeds sir customer breeding program and and you know, what, I really had not seen it before and not to the level we were seeing it and I said, So tell me about this stuff. This is gonna be a problem and she goes she said Jim, if your guys knew what they were looking at, they would spray everything now and they would plow every acre of beets this fall to get because the leaf will the organic matter and to make matters where she goes Do you know where we get our inoculum for our cercospora trials nice no and and she went out and she picked a few leaves and she goes pick leaves like this we throw them in a bag and we throw them in the freezer. We pull them out in the spring we grind them up and we have a we use a like a Bandy applicator granular applicator and we just go down the rows and we put them on the beet that because it’s in the leaf Yeah, well it’s just that dry matter yet completely dry frozen she goes yeah the only way you’re going to get rid of this inoculum is if everybody plows or beat center of course that’s not gonna happen we were talking about earlier guys don’t want to plow That’s right. Rip it in we’ll deal with that problem later and we very well may have to have conditions present themselves as well because we’re gonna have plenty of inoculum

Brent

around yeah cuz I doubt we plowed

Jim

bang for you yeah dang for you

Brent

going in from harvest wise I mean harvest seemed to move right along

Jim

did does what wasn’t quite as many times or trucks it did move along fairly smoothly and so as

Brent

far as what you heard to finish the year at least for this coop or that they were down a little bit more than what they expected

Jim

download Yeah, a little bit more than they expected but we got again an excellent crop I mean sugars were in a teams and you know, tonnage was you know, solid I mean it was you know, I think the coop averaged around 40 tonne and it’s it was a good crop good crop processed very well they finished that up here 10 days ago or so and and so and was

Brent

very pleased with what came in last so sugar sugars high is that was that contributed a little bit to the early heat you think

Jim

there’s sugar percent and you know, it’s it’s there’s a lot of factors that go into you know, good sugar I mean, you know, the breeding is definitely you know, we’ve just got some really good varieties from the seed companies. They are just really good varieties and and they process well and and of course amalgamated most coops I think all coops do this, you know, they have a seed what they call a seed Alliance and they set some some parameters and some bars and some you know, these are things if you want approval because you can have a great variety that you know, gives a guy 60 ton and 16 and a half sugar and and and, you know, recovers at 88 or 89% Amalgamated said that you’re not selling that when he we need you know, we need recoveries up we need sugar up we need ERS per ton up those things that that make the coop more efficient and and make the growers more money. And so you know, the the seed companies working with the seed Alliance, they’ve been able to deliver some really, really good sugar beets

Brent

so in this eat Alliance, like you say they do have some criteria. Oh, absolutely. What kind of recoveries and when you talk to recoveries what would they like to see? Oh, I’d

Jim

love to see 100% Yeah, but you know, I mean, you get 91-92% You know, and and you know and if and of course the coop and back when I was a field man, three days a week we crawl those stupid piles and walk you know, 200 feet and we would drive conduit six feet down and I had to thermometer on a string and cork it because if water got in their freezer thermometer in the bottom, you pull that up, reach temperatures and write it in your book and and three times a week. you’d send those numbers off the clock now they fly him and they they’re infrared and the huge, big thing that they do is they go in and strip these piles. It gets frost to get rain, they go pull those sides down and they get those to the factory. And I mean the coop is so that’s

Brent

made quite a deal. It’s huge. It’s they’ve done that their recovery rates better.

Jim

I looked at beets, they were taken out the end of March still on the piles and they look like they were putting there three weeks ago. Just is is really incredible. I noticed that they’ve been put in there too. Yep, ventilated piles. Huge difference. That’s been kind of a new thing. Over the last 670 No, we’ve had ventilated piles. Well, before that, you know, and back. I was still field man, they put the storages huge storage is up down there. You haven’t seen that. That’s, that’s impressive Brent. I mean, they’re big. I mean, they pull those drink trains in there, and they just turn them around in those buildings. Oh, wow. It’s cool. It’s it’s impressive. I mean, it’s, it’s, yeah, it and you know, if I sound like I’m proud of this Co Op I am. Well, they’re this I tell you what I think, you know, you know, the the talk, you know, when Amalgamated got started was that Red River Valley that the their their coop American crystal. We don’t we don’t have to bow our heads when we’re in their presence. We’re we’re doing we’re as good a coop cooperative there is in the United States.

Brent

And that’s exciting that we’ve got such strong sugar markets in all these areas. Oh, yeah.

Jim

And the sugar programming has a lot to do with that. It’s great program, no cost to the taxpayer. And, but But it keeps you know, that foreign sugar from that’s being dumped as countries subsidize their own growers and, and it it protects our industry protects our jobs, protects my job, your job, you know, I know you guys are in the spud business. But I’ll tell you what, Brent we’re moving into the beet biz, why don’t you guys already you have some great equipment running out there, you know, the guys speak highly of it. But imagine if I mean, so. So in 2007, the Co Op, harvested 117,000 acres of beets, and they were around 30 bucks a ton are projected to be around 34. And, and, you know, now we plant 180 You know, ballpark depends on on water and all those other conditions. But imagine if, if the, you know, like back in the 70s when they the US government decided we don’t need a sugar program. And, and you know, so many, you know, you and I sugar and they were just mills in Texas, so many closed down. And and you know, the sugar price dropped, and then all of a sudden went back up to 60 some cents, which was, you know, incredible back then that’s, that’s and and so they you know, and of course, obviously, all the companies, the sugar users who had had lobbied against it to get the world sugar lobby to get a sugar program so that they could get cheap sugar again, they’re not Chino at Bullseye fair. Sure. Yeah. And but you know, and so you take 180,000 acres of sugar beets out of Idaho. Oh, what’s gonna happen to our spud industry?

Brent

Well, because that becomes the best crop part.

Jim

That’s a row crop of dirt. Yes,

Brent

that’s row crop. It’s called Dirt. Yeah. And it’s solid. And it gives us a good rotation. I think that’s, that’s one of the things maybe we’ll hit on that real quick rotation as far as I mean, we need good rotation with potatoes, even wheat, barley, sugar beet, we need rotation. So it keeps it out of some of these diseases. Right? We will build up on what what would you recommend on a rotation or sugarbeets? You know,

Jim

ideally. So there’s, there’s there’s a couple of schools of thoughts here. So from I will talk from a processors point of view, I would like to see probably potatoes and wheat, sugar beets and wheat, a four year rotation and then back to potatoes. From a growers perspective, when you’re talking about 10 710 $14,000 per acre ground, you gotta make a payment on that’s that’s got to support itself or, you know, grants where they’re at. A lot of guys are on a potato, sugar beet wind, and that, that challenges the coop, in in some regards. They’ve they’ve kind of they’ve had some some struggles with that because from a growers point of view, the advantage is I can capture that nitrogen because sugar beets They’ll go down 1, 2, 3 feet, and they’ll, they’ll, they’ll, they’ll grab those groceries that were leftover from the spots. And so on a year like this, you know, we’re fertilized prices are, you know, you got nitrogen at a buck plus and and so the guys that are following spuds are like, who you know, I mean, but at the same time, you know, we’re getting some soil tests back that you know we’ve got an extra 40 or an extra 80 or sometimes even an extra 100 units of nitrogen followed by crop you got to do now we’ve got to deal with that and still make the ptJ P you know, at least be at the at the average or higher so our growers don’t get deducted and, and and conductivity is down and things like that. And the growers going well, You know, if I get dinged a little bit it’s okay because I’ve saved all this fertilize costs. And and so our job is as crop consultants is, is okay, let’s let’s manage this crop so that we don’t so that our grower doesn’t get penalized by the coop so that the coop has what they need to make money. And and and we don’t hammer the aquifer, I mean, we don’t want to just put water to it and flush the nitrogen. So So you know, we, we we go into the growing season, aware of what we’ve got to deal with. And we kind of address that later in the fall.

Brent

That’s what makes it nice, probably following. Great, great, yep, it’s much easier to manage that fertilizer will be easier because it’s kind of pulled Yeah, down to a level

Jim

well, and you have to add fertilizer. So we got guys that are putting 100 -250 units of nitrogen on grain for their beets, some requirements were even a little higher than that. And so no, and then that adds that complicates even things even further for growers because they don’t like to plow and they don’t want to work deep. So you go out there and put 150 units nitrogen or 175 units and nitrogen on the top of the ground. And, you know, you run a packer crossed it twice, you got 150 units in that seed zone. And so now you’ve got to address that too. I mean, because of the salts and and everything else. And and like say that be when it emerges, it’s the size of a heron. So, so what, you know, there’s, there’s pros and cons to both sides of the issue. And really it comes down to you know, we’ve we’ve, you know, and I, you know, and I’m biased, I deal with them all. I think we have the best sugar beets in North America, in you know, in this end of the state. And there’s, as shouldn’t say this. There’s a lot of great growths on the other end of the state ID I know these personally, and I know a lot of those guys down at the other end of the state. So I will say we have I honestly believe we have the best sugar beet growers in North America in Amalgamated Sugar.

Brent

how they’re handling. Absolutely. Well, and I think some of that comes like you say we’re used to row crop too, right?

Jim

Yeah, yeah. We deal with spuds and, and and so yeah, we’re

Brent

What do you recommend a lot of growers do a starter fertilizer on the beets as they go or, or most of the

Jim

time? Absolutely not. So the thing of beets are unique. I mean, it’s not like grain or potato or wheat. Or, you know, it’s our corn it’s on the ground and it absorbs moisture. A beet is is that that shell that it’s in is is just, it’s it’s hard. It’s difficult to cut open with a knife, and it does not absorb moisture. It is impenetrable. It’s it’s it’s encased in an impenetrable shell. And there’s this little thing called the basal pore that runs from the germ to the outside shell and it’s again it’s it’s extraordinarily small. That’s the only place water and oxygen can get into the germ to get it started. Okay, so you put corn in the ground, a little more moisture comes all the way into it or wheat or potatoes alcohol in the moisture, this beet seeds so seed soil contact becomes very important, which is very difficult to do at half an inch. Yes, yeah, again, but you get seed, you know, there’s a few places that can bring beets up. When they’re more than an inch deep. We’re not one of them. You get beets over an inch deep and eastern Idaho. You you’ll be lucky to get see half of them ever again. Oh, well. They just do not they just it’s a small germite. I tell guys, I go listen, you know, a sugar beets powered by a triple A battery that just got pulled out of your kid’s favorite Christmas toy that’s run non stop for a month and a half and it’s only got a little juice left in that. Now take your potato or your corn every week. They’re powered by a small nuclear reactor. So that’s what we’re dealing with here. So So you want to you want to give that that little battery the best chance that it has. And to do that it’s it’s put it in the ground planet shallow and get it, you know, get a water stirred and go on. Because that if it sprouts and it has to, you know, live off of that germ,

Brent

it will make it very long. And then there’s a certain period of time to that it’s very susceptible to frost. We like that. Oh, we’ve

Jim

already got frozen beets Brent. Yeah,

Brent

we’re already so coming into this year. That takes us right into this year, a little bit of Yep. What what are you seeing so far? I mean, we’ve got guys that probably started first of April. Yeah.

Jim

And they’ve got we got some beets up and we’ve got some beats that are germinated and coming up, and we got some beets that got froze. The difficult thing is, is you know, it’s the weather was so cold last week and and you know, we hit yesterday was a nice day, but it’s cold out there again today. I know. And freeze again. Yeah, yeah. Oh, undoubtedly. And so, so we really won’t be able to assess it. You can’t assess the stand until they get up. And and so we got a lot of beets that are under the ground. And I look at him and I look at him under lens. And I go yes, this one’s but but I it’s really hard to put a number to that. Until you see what actually makes it

Brent

get a little bit more heat you get them up and move on. And what, what percentage of the beet right now are planted?

Jim

Not very many. Right? It’s it’s for this Wednesday, 17th for the 17th of April lease amount of beats 18. What are the 99? Okay, we’re going along. The least amount, lowest percent planted acres that I’ve seen in the upper site for the 19th of April, maybe 99. Was was close to this? Because we had a very wet spring. Isn’t the magic

Brent

date, kind of between the fifth and the 15th? Is that kind of the magical day? April? Yeah, yeah, that’s

Jim

a really good window to plan in normally, but we’re not getting we’re not making that. And, and and there will be a little potential yield loss. But I really don’t think it starts to, you know, you don’t start to see a big slide until we get out to the you know, you want them in by the fifth of May. Yeah, yeah. When you look back, I mean, these beats that were planted. I mean, they’re not happy with these guys have missed a lot of growing degree days. So So you know, it’s, it’s, it’s the way the year is. But yeah, it’s it’s, you know, I’ve been telling my guys, you know, when you heard that conversation, I go, yeah, if we were the fifth of May or fifth of April, we might want to shut down in this wind. But where we are today, we’re going to push it a little bit. Yeah. And because it’s time to go, yeah, it is. Well, and that’s kind of where we’re at all across the board. It is, you know, in this weather for this year, from what we’re seeing is we’re moving at least a week to some areas, even three weeks to four weeks behind. What’s happened. Yeah, we’re solid 10 days behind in the beats.

Brent

But they can pick that up. Oh, absolutely. You know, Mother Nature is interesting.

Jim

Yeah, she is. I mean, we kind of had that same thing last year. I mean, we’ve, we’ve the beets were were struggling and stressed and kind of far behind and then and when that switch flipped boy, we got the rows close, quick and started making sure and

Brent

yeah, it’s well, let’s talk a little bit about variety. Okay, talk a little bit about rotation in that. What, as far as your varieties goes, what type of inroads are we making? You’re talking about some new stuff with that the diseases we were talking about? Yeah. What other inroads we’ve still got the roundup ready.

Jim

Oh, yeah. Which, you know, other than mono germ seed, that was the big game changer back in the 40s. You knows, some guy was beet seed used to be in clusters, okay. And so they would have to break the clusters apart to get a single seed. So that was very labor intensive and and they planted and then and it really you know, it was was a game changer. This guy found this one plant out in the field that had single seeds. And man, you know, he was you know, must have been smart enough to realize that this could be very useful plant is a good idea. Yeah, so the genetics were taken and we got mono germ C fast forward to you know, the early 90s and and you know, as as GMO crops were being milled that technology was taken hold and and you know, the release of Roundup Ready sugar beets in 2008 I believe and and absolute game changer. Yeah. I mean, when we were talking about 2007, on the coop, harvested 117,000 acres, guys, the weed between the weed issue and the market pressures, guys were about ready the co op was was was was on, you know, shaky ground and, and, and Roundup Ready sugar beets came and it’s that IT technology in and of itself has just been incredible.

Brent

I remember when they used to cultivate and cultivate to try to keep the weeds out of your chemicals were limited on what you owe

Jim

it prior to that you planted and you ran a beta mix sprayer and you cultivated and you ran a beta mix sprayer and you cultivated and you ran a beta mix sprayer and you cultivated and then you put a hole in crew and hopefully only once and hopefully it was less than 40 bucks an acre. But it was it was a chemical intensive, it was labor intensive. And, and and, and, and machinery and and so we get wrapped up in and you know, of course you know there’s a lot of people have moved on beyond GMOs, but still a lot of people are hung up on GMOs and go I you know, it’s bad for the environment. And if you would have seen what I’ve what I’ve seen in my lifetime, you would have go this is this has been incredible for the entire environment, I mean, fuel savings alone, diesel savings alone, I mean all those trips across wheel, you know, three to four cultivations and three to four sprays eight trips now is to strip two to two times across with a sprayer and your, you know, hand labor. And where would we get the hand labor today to do it, we struggle with we would It would be so so that was amazing. Back in around 97 or 98, we had WrestleMania come into the valley and and it was at that time, it was the most devastating disease in the world. I can remember as amalgamated jumping in a little Cessna plane, and we had to fly in all of the fields and look for the signs of WrestleMania in the fields, I hated that job. It was hot and noisy, and I was sitting there looking down all the time. And, and and we watched it over the years, we would you know we’d be on flying. And we we had one of the beet seed companies seed companies and be bringing some riser mania tolerance. And that was all of a sudden that changed everything and we got you know rises, we got Passat and nematodes and we have rise Ock and all of these things. You know, they you know, as these problems crop up, the seed companies and the breeders are, you know, you’re usually one step out of it. And I’ll credit you know, this the seed company that I work with, you know, we sit down, and they and in the fall they go okay, what what do what do we need to bring to help our customers? Because, I mean, they realize too, I mean, just that discussion we had earlier, they’ve got to look down the road, their sustainability depends upon our farmers sustainability. And so it’s really nice to come to us and they go, What are you saying, what do we need? What do these guys need to do? What does coop need and one of the growers need to be successful? And we’re gonna go to work on and they do and it’s it? It is?

Brent

Are they coming with something almost every year new is Oh, UFC.

Jim

Oh, yeah, yeah. So this CR plus is this, cercospora. Trade has been the latest thing that’s been brought in. And, you know, we’re looking at and looking at, you know, two, three years down the road of having a new Dicamba Liberty Link Roundup Ready. Sugarbeet Three, three. Yeah. So you go out there with Dicamba one application and have it round up? Yeah, it’s it’s cool technology. It really is. And, you know, it’s it’s, yeah, and that’s, that’s how we’re going to feed the world. That’s how, how we’re going to, you know, we’re going to turn the corner on whatever is going on. I don’t want to get political on climate but, but we’ve seen the sugar beet yields go from 30 to 50 plus ton.

Brent

And that’s some of the reason that you go for further north in this country. They didn’t have the yield. Now we’re seeing

Jim

that, regardless of what’s causing it. There is climate change there

Brent

at all. Yes. Well, you look at what we’ve got today. Yeah, I mean, yeah, colder. It does, it changes and each year seems to have a different challenge to it. It does and that’s exciting about the seed, that they’re always working on that you know, But how did they get funded? I mean, is that funded through this

Jim

price of seed is not cheap and so, you know, and I can’t speak for other seed companies, but I know the one that I work with, they’re they they put a lot in, they’ve got more research going on I mean, they’re, they’re they’re contributing a significant amount of research

Brent

and and that’s what keeps them alive it is it is that’s

Jim

it that’s that’s why they’re the number one seed company in North America is

Brent

the grower and the co op and everybody moving along because we’re always we got to keep moving ahead yeah, like your long term vision. Yes. So well and the other thing that I can see like you said feed what we got to do to feed the world Yeah, keep losing farm ground or lose

Jim

farm we got so we got to get we got yes, no. It’s

Brent

talk a little bit about seed preparation as far as ground getting ready for seed going in seedbed preparation into those things.

Jim

There’s there’s a lot of guys doing different things. I mean, the grower I was at at this morning I mean, they’re they they they worked the last fall DMI did and and then put a Lemkin in on it and there’s planning with the limpkin and it’s it’s a really nice seed but little soft we used to have that you know so my grandfather and my great you get a bladed off yeah, and we had the Old Milton planters and so it had to be flat had to be firm because that was they were you know that Milton was turned by by ground friction and so now with these you know these new john Deeres modelsim planters precision planners and all the things that are out there to to plant sugar beets with it gives us an end with you know, we had to also have that firm and keep flat for the cultivating Yeah, because we were close cultivate, I mean we we have those first pass it was cold away discs were you know, an inch either side of that beet. Yeah. And is that your tettenhall roller man or if you’d made it too wide, you’d lose lose the weed control right where your beet was grown. So So yeah, it’s in between the technology and but you know, a lot of guys are you know, we have few guys still plow and then run a packer across a lot of guys are run into DMI sometimes you know big rip around the fall open ground up and then putting a packer on it and a spring I have guys that are one pass with a packer in the spring I deal with guys in fallen wheat that are two passes with a packer in the spring or a lemkin and a packer sometimes just the lemkin. But you know, they’re they’re trying to get and we talked about seed to soil contact, which is critical in sugar beets. And that’s another challenge and wheat is there’s a lot of wheat in there. Yeah, then all of a sudden now you don’t get that good to seed to soil contact and and as long as you don’t you want that residue on top to keep it from blowing. Yep. So it’s a fine line. You know, we worked field and we go as look too much residue to plant into. So let’s let’s make one more pass across that. But we don’t want to put everything under there because we don’t want to beet stuff up. Yeah, and and so you know, a lot depends on you know, what we’re following. Potatoes are pretty easy. Rip them in the fall. Yeah, come in this because then you don’t have all yep, I have to deal with all that stuff comes with pros and cons on that part. So, but like say we got we got a great growers that are learning, you know, yeah. And, and I agree with what you’re talking about with his equipment, too. It seems like we have advanced in the last 15-20 years with equipment now. I mean, we sped up we used to plant beats one two mile an hour. Yeah. Now we’ve got these precision planters out there going to where placing the seed where we need it, like I was listening to somebody talk about a one that now has kind of get a moisture meter on it to give you kind of depth and it will actually adjust the depth up to whatever you tell it to according to the moisture. Well, that ain’t gonna work for beets. You know, there’s a lot of talk out of speed planters, and we, you know, I mean, and I’ll say this, I mean, you know, we’ve gone from two and a half on the mountain three and a half is ideal with a John Deere modelsim. You can push it to four. And there’s planters out there and there’s there’s this, this thought process that maybe we can go faster because, you know, that’s the big thing in the Midwest is well, we got to go fast. We got to go fast enough to cover the acres. We got to cover the acres and it was kind of interesting, a good friend of mine, Rick Richarburger. He was the chairman of the mythic he still is maybe of Michigan sugar. He came OUT out here a few years ago and and came down to this valley and him and his wife. And Maria and I we spent some time together. But anyway, Rick wanted to tour him so we drove around the valley. He looks at me. He goes, where are all the big planters? I go, What are you talking about? He goes to 24 Row 36 Row, the 48 row, the 60 row sugarbeet planners, corn planners, and I go, we have a few 24 rows most everything is well, right? Yep, yep. And he goes, I don’t know just how to get your crop in and I go, we load the drills up, we go up and down the field. And M and he goes, how many acres in this valley and 38,000, something like that. He goes. Long story short, he goes, I had five days to get my crop planted in Michigan last year in April,

Brent

because of the weather weather. And I go,

Jim

Rick, we had five days, maybe we couldn’t.

Brent

So it makes a difference. It makes a difference. Huge difference.

Jim

main lines and rock piles. I mean, he’s out there and miscanthus, just flat black dirt. You know, on there, the good Lord above provides what they need, maybe not always at the right time, but but it makes

Brent

a difference and that makes it diff when your windows closer or shorter, you gotta

Jim

get them to so so they try to bring that technology here and say go fast. And I’m like, That’s great. Put all your beets in in three days and get froze.

Brent

At least it was all your if you spread it out. You got

Jim

exactly yeah, it’s a little better odds, you know, so

Brent

spacing wise, are you seeing a lot of difference in I know some guys are talking about some seed spacing according to soil types or according to what they’re saying.

Jim

We’ve seen that we you know, we had that very we have variable speed planters and when they first came out guys were pretty excited about it. And and, and you know, and to a certain extent I’ve seen it were you know, over white rocky Knowles out on on the reservation out my Bannock peak, or bypass on the Arban exit. In truckers, Ville, there’s some really white tough dirt here. And so, so guys, we’re bumping the spacing on over the white knowles and kept fields from being replanted, generally speaking, most everybody sets their spacing. Between five, we got a few guys that have five more guys that five and a quarter, five and a quarter, five and a half is the sweet spot in this valley. I would say 75% of the growers in this valley are planting between five and five, five and a quarter and five and a half. And the other 25% 10% of them are a little closer and the other 15% are five and a half to five and three quarters. I think there’s two or three guys that are still out there six, but

Brent

not very many. Then you’re shooting for that half inch all the way through. Yeah,

Jim

half inch to three quarters. Yeah, yeah, if you get over three quarters,

Brent

wave goodbye. Just doesn’t come through.

Jim

Make sure you got the replant insurance guys number handy, because you’re probably gonna need it.

Brent

Well, I know watching a little bit too after planting, now we’ve got some guys that are going in and doing some damage hiking. And obviously you had mentioned that earlier. Right? dammar Dyker on there. What are the benefits? I know we, you know, spuds, we see it because we’re gathering the moisture, I’m sure kind of the same thing with beets, do you see it in certain soil types that is more beneficial than others?

Jim

You know, I mean, so soil types not so much. I mean more, again, ground that soaked. And, and so and, you know, we used to, you know, in the potato industry, we used to go and dammer dike in late June and early July. And those guys, man they get them planted, and then they turn around and get the chemical on and they get them diked. Yeah. And then the sleds come up, and we have a great crop and so but but just you know, five years ago, we had five, six years ago, we had guys going through and Diking just for the rows close and beets because water was running. And my wife you drive out and the beets are laying down flat, you know, is suffering. I mean, you know, you look at at soil and you look at that first foot, that’s where all the groceries are out my friend. That’s, that’s where the N and the ag and the K and Z can make I mean that first foot, that’s that’s, that’s that’s the grocery, that’s where the groceries are and the plants know that. And so when sugar beets come up and they get those roots out there and and they go get those groceries. Well then we we were coming in in July and rolling a river through there and we were closing the cupboard door. And and so a friend of mine a grower up here and of course there’s there was all sorts of challenges out here in this white desert dirt, the water pivoted go around the water run off and then all and so I had an idea and He had the shop and the equipment to turn it into a reality and developed what we call little Dyker that goes on the planter. And, and, and, you know, I was described consultant and we’re still just my very best friends and and we came up with this thing and the field man from Amalgamated Sugar come out there and he saw and he goes, I think everybody ought to have one of these. So he started sending guys out there. Well, we gave him one would give growers you know, Terry give them a here. Yeah, you’ll build it and they were you know, like, that’s not what they wanted to do. They want you to do it right. Well, I had a son in law who was managing a machine shop down in Boise. He was a shop foreman down there 20 Some 22 guys working for him this great machines, I mean waterjet tables and brakes and iron workers. And I mean it was it was really cool. We come up for Christmas that fall and I said I got some guys that want these built during this pick up mistake get back to Boise and see if they can a long story short, I mean, we’ve got them on over 200 planters and five or six states and then they’re seeing

Brent

some good benefits. Oh yeah, there’s a water retention

Jim

and we’re putting the dikes in as we plant. Yeah. So you don’t have to come back in and don’t have to come back in and tear those roots out. I mean, we we we had a side by side we had a growing Pleasant Valley and side by side. He planted half of a to John Deere, Maksim BC variety planted half with the Dyker the other half without and it was such a shocking difference on May 24. The two sides it was incredible. And Amalgamated came up looked at it, and we ended up taking out a harvest. There’s 4.2 times difference. Wow. And about two tenths of a point sugar. It was huge. And and everybody you know, God bless Wade Povey, every grower that drove by that would call call him and say what did you do different there? And he just say you need to call him. So yeah,

Brent

lots of that’s neat to see, to develop something like that. And to see that kind of it

Jim

is it’s it’s, you know, and again, when we were going through and and you know, that extra pass with the tractor. I mean, you look at the tractors cost, cost to run per hour and the price of fuel right now. Exactly. That’s a no brainer. If

Brent

it’s, and it goes back to that. You talked about the environment, too, right? Everybody’s talking about carbon footprint right now. Yeah. Every time you put that track in the field, it’s another. Yeah, another chunk of stuff going in the air? Oh, undoubtedly, even though we’re cleaning it up.

Jim

Right. Right. Yeah, we’re doing we’re doing the things that were it, you know, and how your culture gets a lot of heat. But, but we’re doing more than any other, any other industry? And I think people recognize, I think so i

Brent

And that’s probably one of the things that we want to really help with, with what we’re doing with these podcasts is has to kind of put out there, you know, this is what we are doing. And we’re doing things that are helping the environment. Eating the world. Yeah. And doing those things.

Jim

Yeah, we mean, it is it is it’s an important message to get out. And, you know, over the years, we’ve been poor ambassadors for our industry, all of us have, we’ve not done we, you know, we’ve been worried about what we’re doing. We weren’t worried about feeding the world and not worrying about telling the world what you know, how we’re doing it, and they have a right to know they do, they’re gonna eat it, they’re gonna sit down and eat it, they, they have a right to know what we’re doing, to make it safe to make the environment and, and, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, and I’ve got a sister in San Francisco, oh, god bless. God bless her. But, you know, she gets caught up and all that stuff. And I go, you know, what, I go to the cellar down the road, and I feed those potatoes to my kid. That’s how it is safe. It is. We eat it every day.

Brent

Well, and we want to make it safe, because we’re all involved. We’re all involved

Jim

in and, you know, and they talk about big farmers, but typically, they’re just family farmers. I mean, with everybody, here’s a family farmer. And and they’re raising their kids here and they look down the road and they want they want the farm to be sustainable and and their kids to you know, have their grandkids. I know my great grandfather’s very pleased and I still live on my family farm that he bought back in the 40s 30s. You know, and and, and so it’s, it’s, yeah, it’s a message we need to be better at getting out.

Brent

We do. Yep. I know. One of the things we kind of chatted a little bit about before we came in was a little bit about strip till. Yeah, that’s kind of like Europas sounds like is doing a little of that. And of course, it sounds like you’ve had a little experience with maybe explain a little of what you’ve seen in some of your

Jim

so strip till kind of was, you know, kind of a hot topic 10-12 years ago and they’re, you know, Amalgamated was doing some research on it. And one of the guys have been named Kerry Bone was was doing some research with it and running on his farm with with some mixed results and, and so so we had a guy in the Aberdeen area jump in, he was like, I’m gonna do this he had some highly, highly erodible soils and sand, you know, it was blown out on him and stuff. But he’s gonna do on the whole farm by the strip Tiller he was, I mean, you know, go bigger go home. Yep. And he went big. And, and, and there. There were definitely some challenges I shared with you on Memorial Day weekend I was walking be field saying, Yep, we got to replant this one. Yep. I mean, you give up some yield. And and at the, at the virtual sugar beet school that was hosted by amalgamated sugar in the University of Idaho this winter. They talked about that there’s some yield loss there. Now, so so when you when you talk about environmentally positive action, yes. Strip tilling is has some benefits. But from a crop production point of view, but doesn’t do very it is doesn’t do a lot of good if you’re not making money. I mean, again, you know, if if we have all these millions of acres that are under the watchful hand of growers who are going broke, and it doesn’t do anybody any good, it’s not good for the environment, we need our growers to be successful. And so there are definitely places were stripped Hill. And and I shared with you I got a grower up and Raft River, Ken, who’s, you know, he was a bulldog about it, he was so horizontally challenged that he didn’t have a lot of choices. And and he’s got it figured out. And there are guys that there are places for it. And I will say this stripped Hill is not an option without Roundup Ready beats. And that’s you’ve

Brent

got to do well. And a lot of them are using a cover crop to do right.

Jim

I love cover crops. I Jim Davis was the University of Idaho extension agent back in the early 80s. I’m thinking I started working with him on cover crops in 1984. Yeah, oh, yeah,

Brent

I still sell cover crops today. I love them. And now it’s becoming bigger and bigger. It is

Jim

great. I mean, you know, when the thing that caught my attention back when he when I was a little younger than I am now was lets you know, when when we raise what, whether it’s a sugar beet crop or a potato crop or wheat crop, we collect energy from the sun and we turn it into food. And so when when we take the wheat off, that sun hits the ground, and no energy is captured, and that’s a lot of energy. Yes, let’s put a cover crop out there. Let’s grab that energy. And then let’s put that energy back into the soil. It’ll help organic matter which helps water infiltration, which helps water holding capacity, which helps drought tolerance and and and then we’re gonna have slow release nitrogen and so we’re gonna have a more even, you know, and the guys that use these these cover crops and that we have nematode trap crops have gotten even totally, we can go in there and we can trick them into into a generation cycle that they can’t complete. And very humane not cruel, you know, for my sister in San Francisco, but um, you know, there’s, there’s, you know, agriculture keeps evolving and and, and there’s so many great tools out there. And the unfortunate part about it in the dry conditions, we are now our cover crops sales, guys were like high water, guys love to put cover crops and had to cut back so so we need, we need Mother Nature in the good bore to keep blessing us with some more moisture. So we can continue to do things the way that we we’d like to do when we need to.

Brent

Yes. What have any suggestions going through the end of this year now kind of what you’re seeing and what you can anticipate, obviously, we’ve talked a little bit about the disease that we need to kind of look at maybe some of your last thoughts on, on what to kind of expect or what you’re kind of thinking that we need to be looking at this coming year. Of course, I’m asking that with

Jim

as this is a loaded question. It’s like, you know, I saw some big spending equipment loaded on a truck and this list questions more loaded than than the truck and the truck. Yeah. So So you know, obviously I mean, the first our first goal is to get an adequate standard beats we need 150 275 leads to maximize our production we need to get it as soon as possible. And once once we’ve got the stand, we need to get those leaves we need to get those roads closed as soon as possible. Romag it’s always a threat cutworms you know, if you’re following if you’re following a grain crop or a residue crop, you know, when when you got about 15 20% of your beats up, you need to start watching for cutworm. And we have a lot of guys that go out and get a pyrethroid on we were talking that and again, we were talking about you know, strip tilling that was a huge factor in strip tilling because when guys work the ground, they kill the cow worms. And that grower I was walking in in Memorial Day weekend, those cutworms came out wiped him out real quick. And and so so we’ve got the cow worm issue and and then you know, we’ve got real maggots which continue to plague us in, in North Pleasant Valley through Aberdeen. But you know, we’re learning to deal with that the loss of lorries, vans can impact us. It’s, it was a very good insecticide for for root maggots. And, and so we’re, that’s, that’s one of the things guys are going to want to keep an eye on is, is without that tool, they’re there, they’re going to they’re, they’re going to need to be a little more vigilant about what they do. And I will say this, and you know, these guys, if you got Laura’s ban over, please don’t use it on your sugarbeets it’s, it’s it’s it That’s awful. Yeah, please don’t, it’s not worth it, use it somewhere else, but not on sugar. Or potatoes. Please don’t use it there. Don’t forget, it’s important. You know, and then then we just grow sugar beets. That’s what I loved about sugar beets, then the pump went down and they willed it down. It wasn’t a big deal. If you’re spared grow, or you’re you know, beets or, you know,

Brent

once you get into that stage, they’re pretty they’re they’re pretty healthy, they’re forgiving. So

Jim

you know, it’s it’s and so and then in the fall, you know about about the end of July for slugs, you better be paying attention to the weather. If we get that period where we’ve got nights over 60 Daytime highs in the 80s to upper 80s And we’ve got humidity, then you better get something on because there Casper is in your field. I promise you it’s there, especially after last year. Well, yes. Absolutely. And and and it’s it’s just waiting for those conditions to come. Yeah, we we got by last year came late enough and we were on top of HIV and enough that that we didn’t really see what it can do. But there was a grower and I think a couple of growers anyway 14-15 10-14 early age 14 sugar this is down and Parma were raised 40 plus 45 plus tons. Yeah. So really so cercospora is real. Natalie devastate

Brent

really put on the list right now.

Jim

Absolutely. So and then you know, don’t don’t put don’t put nights too much nitrogen on late and and if you’ve got too much nitrogen in that third foot, take it away from a beat. And you can do that by drying down that third foot in August when cercospora

Brent

and that’d help that slowly. Yeah. Yeah.

Jim

So it’s a win win.

Brent

Good recommendation.

Jim

So thank you.

Brent

Well, Jim, we sure appreciate you coming in absolutely Brent spending time

Jim

with it’s been fun visiting with you. I’ve enjoyed it.

Brent

Well, I’ve enjoyed it too. And we want want to thank everybody that has joined us here today and kind of learned a little bit more about sugar beets and had a good conversation about that.

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