ISSUE #430

430 - Steps for Continued Success

12-19-02

Speakers at the Annual Meeting certainly challenged American Crystal Sugar Company shareholders, employees and management to examine what they need to do to continue to be highly successful in the future. Guest speaker Jason Jennings said the 10 most highly successful companies in America all had certain fundamental characteristics. Some of these key characteristics or values are:

  • Know when to abandon or let go of a practice.
  • Systematize everything - keeping great records.
  • Ask "What good business reason is there for doing anything and everything."
  • Provide complete "customer satisfaction" producing a high yielding top quality crop at the lowest possible cost accomplishes this for each individual shareholder and the Company.

These characteristics certainly apply to the sophisticated farming operations of today.

Each American Crystal Sugar Company shareholder needs to very thoroughly examine their sugarbeet production system (business) for needed changes before spring planting begins. Some practices that might need to be evaluated include:

Systematize Everything:

  • Use of at planting soil applied ethofumesate (Nortron, Etho SC or Ethotron SC as part of a truly effective weed control system in 2003.
  • Maximize cercospora control without compromising fungicide resistance management stratagies.
  • Match insecticide products, product rates, application methods and timing to specific insect problems in each field.

Abandon The Old:

  • Thorough review of harvest practices.
    • Options to reduce or eliminate harvest loss.
    • Value of using flail shredders with defoliators.
    • Operating speed of defoliators and harvesters.
    • Making adjustments from field to field to fit changing conditions.
  • Fine tuning the 130 lb./acre nitrogen recommendation for each specific field-consider 90-100 lbs./acre on light soils and 130 lb./acre, or even slightly more on heavy soils.

What Good Business Reason Is There:

  • For using rhizomania resistant varieties where needed in 2003 - accepting a 3 to 5% recoverable sugar per acre loss with rhizomania resistant varieties in low disease areas versus a future 50% revenue per acre loss with susceptible varieties and very bad rhizomania, like occurred in some Red River Valley areas in 2002.
  • For lengthening crop rotations to 3, 4 or 5 crops between beet crops to ensure rhizoctonia, aphanomyces and rhizomania disease levels remain low and sugarbeet production as profitable as it can be for the next 10, 20 or 30 years.
  • To do a comparison of "American Crystal Sugar Company Model Farm" production practices to an assessment of a shareholders existing cultural practices especially the two greatest revenue controlling practices.
    • Timely planting
      • Is a 24 or 36 row planter needed?
    • Stand establishment.
      • Have 180 plants/100' of row been utilized.

See your agriculturist for help.

Customer Satisfaction:

Using rhizomania test strips in 2003 so no variety selection mistakes are made in 2004 resulting in the best beet crop possible.

Board Approves Changes To Late Harvest Reduction Program:

The American Crystal Sugar Company Board of Directors approved the following changes to the Late Harvest Reduction program at its December 6, 2002 meeting:

  • Penalties will be imposed on harvest units still delivering beets after 98 percent of a station's beets have been received plus 36 hours. (Previous policy was based on 98 percent plus 24 hours).
  • If more than one harvest unit is delivering past the 98 percent plus 36 hour trigger, each unit will be charged at the rate of $50 per hour. If only one harvest unit is delivering, the charge for that unit will remain at $100 per hour. (Previous policy charged all harvest units $100 per hour regardless of how many were delivering).
  • The 98 percent trigger will no longer be based on Agriculture Staff's estimate of when 98 percent is received. Penalty trigger in all cases will be based on actual receipt of 98 percent of that station's total crop.
  • The above changes will be effective for the 2003 crop.

Close The Gap II:

Watch for your local "Close The Gap II" meetings in your area. Weed control, model farm, freight system and other topics of pertinent value to be discussed.

New Fungicide Labeled:

Headline fungicide has been labeled for cercospora leafspot control in 2003. It is sold by BASF.

Rhizomania Risk:

Check out the rhizomania decision tree to see if a rhizomania resistant variety is needed in each field or not. Using resistant varieties BEFORE inoculum build up will ensure better yields for many years into the future.