GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) -- American Crystal Sugar Co. is getting a quick start in processing the Red River Valley's new crop of sugar beets.
An early "pre-pile" harvest started Tuesday. It usually begins Sept. 1. Company spokesman Jeff Schwartz tells the Grand Forks Herald it's the earliest start to the harvest in the cooperative's history.
About 10 percent of the beet crop is harvested during the "pre-pile" harvest. That allows the company's sugar processing factories to get cranked up.
The harvest will get into full swing on Oct. 1. It takes place in stages because sugar beets are piled up while they're waiting to be processed. The beets can spoil if it's too warm, so the full harvest doesn't get under way until fall.