Sugar beet farming in colorado

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sugar beet farming in colorado

Second Hoeing by Hope Williams Sykes

Papa’ll work her till she drops in the field! The backbreaking labor of German-Russian immigrants in the sugarbeet fields of Colorado is described with acute perception in Hope Sykess Second Hoeing. First published in 1935, the novel was greeted in all quarters as an impressive and authoritative evocation of these recent immigrants and their struggle to realize the promise of their chosen country.
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Sugar beet farming (excerpt, c.1940)

Water for Sugar Beet Farming

News September 4, Local farmer Paul Fritzler with a truck loaded with beets. A 2-pound bag of GW sugar sits on a sugar beet sorter. Sugar beets are harvested from September through November and processed into white sugar crystals until February. Photo by Emily Kemme. Photo by Emily Wenger. German immigrants from Russia experienced crude living conditions in these beet shanties that dotted farmland around Windsor, Colo.

Since the s Weld County has been the state leader in sugar beet production and sugar beet acreage. By the s, upwards of , acres of sugar beets would be harvested in Weld County alone. As livestock feeding and dairy operations starting moving into the region, corn became the dominant crop and acreage declined in other crops. In , the production of sugar beets hit its peak in northern Colorado. It was also one of the worst years in history for the crop. Major winter storms moved into the area in early October of that year at about the time the sugar beet harvest was just getting started. The second of those storms left 16 inches of snow in Greeley.

A pristine view of Longs Peak and the Rocky Mountain range rests undisturbed to the west. Paul and his son, Scott, lead the farming today, and a sixth generation of the Schlagel family arrived earlier this month. More: Your guide to backyard chicken farming in Fort Collins. When harvested, sugar beets are about a foot long and weigh 2 to 5 pounds. But now technological and research advancements have the Schlagels and other farmers growing sugar beets as efficiently as ever. Despite a diminishing amount of farmland dedicated to the crop, Colorado farmers produced more than 1 million tons of sugar beets last year for the first time since The biggest population growth Colorado would ever experience came around the turn of the 20th century, thanks to sugar beets.

Of more than twenty sugar-refining factories, most built between and , only the Fort Morgan factory remains in operation. Industry historians often note that at the turn of the twentieth century, the dramatic growth of sugar beet production proved that settlers living in Colorado could make the desert bloom. The sugar beet industry also diversified an economy reliant on mining and ranching, as rural Colorado towns came to produce millions of pounds of white granulated sugar.
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The crop is solely grown to be converted into white table sugar

Colorado Sugar Beets Fly Around- RGB Crop Survey Maps

Sugar beets played an important role in agriculture in the Cache la Poudre River Basin for the first half of the twentieth century. After Fort Collins and other Front Range towns built beet sugar processing factories in and , farmers in Larimer County grew more of these sugar-filled roots than any other crop except hay and wheat for fifty years. In the s and s, scientists at the State Agricultural College in Fort Collins had discovered beets grown in Colorado often contained a sugar content of fifteen to seventeen percent, much higher than the needed twelve percent. Therefore, farmers who grew beets built and used an extensive system of canals and laterals to moisten their fields. Beet sugar production required large quantities of water in both field and factory. A sugar beet has three parts: a large central root the part used to make sugar , a tap root to pull water from deep in the ground , and a beat top the leafy greens that emerge from the central root.

The first part of the twentieth century witnessed unparalleled prosperity and growth in Fort Collins. The development of the sugar beet industry underlay the decade's expansion but much of the growth also reflected the steady progress and accumulation of facilities which marked the city as a stable and mature community. Recovering from the Panic of , local businessmen became optimistic about future development, and the vital farm economy also recovered. New residences and businesses were constructed, as well as buildings to house the institutions responsible for promoting culture, including a library, schools, recreational facilities, and churches. At the same time, many of the original buildings of the fort had been demolished. Figure 39 is a map of Fort Collins and vicinity from a portion of a U.

Earnings are up, production is high and Richard Seaworth — a second-generation sugar beet farmer near Wellington — is happy. That prompted many countries to become importers of sugar from the United States. This will help produce good payouts to many of the Colorado members of the Western Sugar Cooperative, said Mike Otto, senior agriculturist with the co-op. This year, about 39, acres of sugar beets were harvested in Colorado, up from 31, last year, Otto said. A relatively cool and wet spring and summer helped the sugar beets, which also were spared high winds and late freezes. Seaworth also was quick to point out that new techniques — including genetically modified seed — also helped.

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