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Published September 30, 2009, 08:49 AM

Valley sugar beet harvest under way

The sugar beet harvest in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota has kicked into high gear, a day early.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The sugar beet harvest in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota has kicked into high gear, a day early.

The pre-pile harvest in which enough beets are dug up to get American Crystal Sugar Co.'s five processing plants running turned into the full-fledged stockpile harvest at midnight.

The stockpile harvest launch was moved up one day from its traditional Oct. 1 start because of forecasts for rain Thursday and Friday.

Crystal growers this year planted 445,000 acres of beets, an increase of 25,000 acres from last year. The processing campaign will last into May.

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