Letter to Dave

Dear Dave,

I am at home today, real home. My second home has been the cab of a
tractor/trailer hauling sugar beets the last few weeks but today the
fields do not contain trucks and harvesters but only beets anxiously
awaiting anxious farmers to pull them from the wet soil. I saw an
article last week-end that described those of us who take vacation
from regular jobs to help harvest the Red River Valley’s sugar beets
as the “sugar culture.” It made me nostalgic as I have been reporting
on the sugar beet harvest, from a first-person perspective, for some
13 harvests.

We spoke this week and you told me about an interesting development
at the North Dakota State University agricultural experiment station
near your home of Carrington, North Dakota.. You told me they planted
16 acres of sugar beets in some alkali soil, an unusual type of soil
for beets in a location far from the sugar beets normal environment.
Apparently, NDSU is trying to grow an “energy beet” on the same land
which they may have normally grown radishes. These sugar beets are
very high in sugar but are more difficult to process. The interest
here is in using the beets for ethanol or cattle feed or both. The
information I read on the web said sugar beets are easier to process
for ethanol, require less water during the process and make more
ethanol than corn which what is used now for ethanol. Anyway, you
told me they had some 30 ton per acre beets near Carrington during a
very dry summer which is, very impressive.

I have been doing my normal around here; starting new projects,
finishing old projects and refining finished projects. I think most
people do not understand my need to constantly build, dig or break
but the truth is I enjoy little else. I don’t hunt, fish, snowmobile
or macrame and television is only sometimes good. I find Lisa, the
cats, my projects, cattle, family and friends of great interest but
without these few I could just as well be held in cold-storage until
the next issue of “Grass Farmer Journal” arrives in the mail.

I heard you were doing some plowing the other day, Dave. I remember
seeing the 450 IHC tractor you were restoring a few years ago and
apparently it is to the point where it needs to work. I recall that
you enjoy plowing so turning sod with your “new “ tractor must have
been especially nice. Please send me a picture when you get the time.

Dave on his 450 IHC
Here is my brother, Dave. He is using a 3-bottom plow behind his International Harvester 450 tractor.

Well Dave, I would like to say my part in the sugar beet harvest was
winding down but the truth is that it came unwound when the rain hit.
It is very hard to dry fields this time of year and I believe we will
be down for a bit. I don’t believe we’ve ever left a beet in the
field that had a buyer and I’m sure this season will be no different
so my level of confidence is high.

Tell all hello, you’re little bro’

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