Sugar Beets Farm - Harvesting Sugar Beets
Photos of a Minnesota Sugar Beet Farm During Harvest Time - October 9-11, 2008
I have been working on a Minnesota sugar beet farm for nearly two weeks. Why am I here? Well,
it all worked out with my schedule, work and God's timing to work
for my friend Mark, a farmer. It is harvest time in Minnesota's farm country!
In many ways, this visit is very connected to my
bike trip across America. (Ahhhh ... my personal adventure
story seems to continue long after the
final day of riding.)
I have been working daily shifts from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There are thousands of acres of sugar beets, soy beans and
corn to be harvested, but I have mostly
worked with the sugar beets. The adjacent photo is the tractor I have been driving throughout much of the time.
It is formally called a rotary beater, but it is more commonly termed a "roto-beater" or "topper" for short.
It is fairly easy work, but the most difficult aspect is waking up regularly at
1:30 a.m. to start my work day. I want to apologize to all of you who have received phone calls and
at insane times like 2:45 a.m. or 4:10 a.m to see if you were awake! It can get
lonesome riding in tractor under the stars, although it's very peaceful too.
||Similar to carrots and radishes,
sugar beets grow below the ground with a green leafy end.
Adjacent are two photos
of one respective sugar beet and a cluster of sugar beets.
||Me standing next to my sugar beet topper.
I know, I know, I am way too sexy for this tractor! :)
||A photo of the gears and acceleration controls inside my tractor.
|I drive the topper over the sugar beets. Most of the time, there is no need to steer because the
tractor's wheels go in a straight line among the grooves of the sugar beets.
||Behind me, the red mechanism knocks off the green leaves from the sugar beets ...
|... The tops of the sugar beets remain exposed and are ready to be lifted.
The top photo is a close up of three sugar beets in a line. The second photo contrasts the sugar beets with and without their leafage.
Two Bottom Photos: These show what a sugar beet looks like.
The inside of a sugar beet has a white pulp texture. If you stick your tongue to one, you will likely taste something very sweet ... like sugar.
Sugar beets, along with sugar cane (grown in tropical areas),
are the two plants that provide sugar for human consumption.
My pages related to Minnesota and the area:
Minnesota High Point
Roger Maris Museum (Fargo, ND)
Clay County High Point
I have spent a plethora of hours on this tractor in the past two weeks.
On two occasions, a rabbit was shocked and distressed that I was slowly chopping its home.
During the second incident, I managed to take some pictures.
This particular rabbit (top) was frightened; it undoubtedly
would have been pummeled if it did not get out of the way.
The rabbit ran into another sugar beet field that would be safe for another day or two.
||One morning, an amazing sunrise
made much of the horizon various shades of bright pink out that way.
I did not have my camera with me, and so I was forced to take it all in with my eyes and memory. It was a pretty one!
This photo holds a similar view and was taken for memory's sake.
||As I drove my topper,
coming behind me was Joel in another tractor. His tractor pulled a "lifter" -
a machine that extracts the leafless sugar beets from the ground.
at least two large dump trucks working around the clock during sugar beet harvest time.
Trucks drive beside the lifter and
accept the spilling sugar beets into its large box.
On one particular run, I ran out toward the
lifter and truck to photograph them working together.
The truckers transport the sugar beets to a local sugar beet plant near Moorhead.
With all the acreage Mark farms on, it requires seven to ten full 24 hour periods to harvest all of his sugar beets.
And this is only Mark's sugar beets.
He also harvests soy beans and corn during the autumn months.
|Two photos of the huge trucks. These trucks, holding all those sugar
beets, usually weigh approximately 60,000 to 65,000 pounds each.
That is 30+ tons per truck load! Yikes ... talk about overweightness!
||A nice photo of Ross Menholt
standing next to a huge John Deere 9300 tractor.
||Special thanks to Mark (right) for giving me such a great work/getaway experience in Minnesota.
Mark held up an unusually large sugar beet that is being used as an ornament at the
entrance of his home. That sugar beet is so large!
| Lake County, CO
| About This Site
Copyright © www.ColoradoGuy.com - All rights reserved