Sugar beet operation in Nebraska adding market opportunities for grower

A western Nebraska producer says adding sugar beets to his crop rotation has made his operation more sustainable and created more market options.

Kevin Hall raises cattle and grows 12,000 acres of corn, wheat, pinto beans and sugar beets near Scottsbluff. “We get the sugar to deliver to the grocery store, as well as, by products like molasses and beep pulp that we bring back to feed it to our livestock. We don’t have very much waste so we’re very sustainable that way.”

He says it costs nearly $1,200 an acre to raise sugar beets and that provides nearly $42 million in economic value to the Panhandle where 42,000 acres are grown.

Hall says growing that crop and using conservation practices like no till and pivot irrigation have helped manage a two-year drought. “We used to pump or use 16 to 24 inches of water and now we probably average 14 to 15 (inches) kind of depending on the year.  The last two years have been extremely dry, and we’ve been able to manage that. We’ve learned we can raise a very good crop and use a little less water.”

He made his comments on a Nebraska Farm Bureau webinar.

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