Sugarbeet research trials in Thumb region benefit industry, area

untitled-shoot-2188-636x480RICHVILLE — When the early sugarbeet harvest begins next Friday, Paul Horny will be most interested in the plants that didn’t make it through the season.

That’s because Horny and other researchers at the Michigan State University AgBioResearch – Saginaw Valley Research & Extension Center in Tuscola County’s Richville need to know why certain sugarbeet varieties didn’t work in some areas of Michigan’s Thumb region.

His group, along with others, annually conduct sugarbeet research at nearly 100 so-called trial sites in Tuscola, Huron and Sanilac counties.

The intention is to assist farmers in realizing even better yields and help Bay City-based Michigan Sugar Co. continue to recognize record harvests – both positives for the area’s economy.

Horny said it’s estimated that for every $1 spent on such research, $400 is realized in return.

That’s big money and it’s also why failure is OK, Horny said.

“We have what I like to call a 98 percent fail rate,” Horny told The Advertiser. “We’re not trying to fail, but pick the best of the best.

“We’ll go through a variety trial and pick the top 2 percent. The other 98 percent are discarded.” (Read more)

(This story originally appeared in the Aug. 20, 2016 print edition of The Tuscola County Advertiser and can be read in its entirety here).

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