The 2012 sugar beet harvest has begun in western Nebraska, with six Nebraska growers delivering about 5,000 tons of sugar beets to the Western Sugar Cooperative factory in Torrington, Wyoming.
The beets were delivered Monday, and the factory began processing those beets Tuesday morning. The 5,000 tons are just the first of what's expected to be a bumper crop.
A forecast late last month predicted a 31.7-ton yield, with a 19.1 percent sugar content, for the season. Average yield is closer to 25 tons and 17 percent sugar.
Western's Nebraska-area manager Jerry Darnell says an unusually large number of growing days and a lack of adverse weather has led to the large crop and early harvest.