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Published October 14, 2009, 02:47 PM

Beet Harvest Grinds to Halt

Cold weather to blame.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — American Crystal Sugar Co. has halted its sugar beet harvest in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota due to the weather.

Company spokesman Jeff Schweitzer says none of the five factory districts dug beets Tuesday because of temperatures that dropped below 20 degrees. At those temperatures, the beets can freeze, and frozen beets do not store well.

The Agriculture Department says the Red River Valley beet harvest was a little more than half done as of Sunday, slightly behind average.

Crystal officials announced this week that growers can harvest all of their planted acres. In recent years, including this season, growers have been told to set aside 10 percent of their beet acres for possible destruction, because the Moorhead, Minn.-based cooperative has been producing so well it sometimes can't process all of the beets grown.

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Information from: Grand Forks Herald, http://www.grandforksherald.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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