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Beet harvest resumes after 4-day layoff

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GRAND FORKS -- Most of American Crystal Sugar Co.'s receiving stations opened again Sunday to take in sugar beets, which started up the harvest again after a four-day delay because of cold temperatures and rain.

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About 70 percent or more of the grower-owned cooperative's 442,000 acres have been dug, based on estimates by company officials Wednesday.

All receiving stations are scheduled to open today up and down the Red River Valley, according to information on the company's Web site.

But only beets that have been "topped," with the green leaves cut off, immediately before the beets are lifted out of the ground, will be accepted, company officials are telling growers.

When temperatures fell below 20 degrees last week, the crowns of the beets froze in many fields, especially on beets that had been topped. Beets with frozen tissue don't store well in the huge outdoor piles. Often, such beets that experience freezing while still in the ground end up being destroyed, dug back into the soil.

If the weather cooperates, the American Crystal harvest likely will wind up this week.

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