Learn about Sugar Production
Sugarbeet seeds are planted each spring, approximately 57,000 seeds per acre.
Prepile begins in August. Farmers harvest a small portion of their sugarbeet crops to supply to the factories for producing sugar.
Main campaign begins around October 1. Farmers work 24/7 until all the sugarbeet crops are harvested.
Sugarbeets are stored at cool temperatures until they are ready to be processed on a rolling basis at the factories. The processing campaign ends in May the following year.
Processing begins at the factories, where beets are washed, sliced and juiced. Once the juice is cleaned to remove impurities, it’s boiled to form a sugar crystal and molasses mixture.
Sugar crystals are separated from molasses through a fast-spinning process. When dry, the sugar crystals are ready to be packaged. It takes approximately four to six sugarbeets to make a 4-pound bag of sugar.
Sugar is sent to grocery stores for consumers, as well as industrial and commercial customers, like candy manufacturers.