Storing Sugar Beets
Sugar beets may not be one of Alberta’s most well-known crops, but they’re an increasingly important one for the province. Sugar beets in Southern Alberta contribute $32.2 million in farm receipts annually and are the sole source of 100 per cent Canadian sugar.
The beets are typically stored outdoors in bulk piles over the winter before being processed at the Lantic factory in Taber. While beets are generally hardy, freeze and thaw cycles or insufficient ventilation can damage the crop and lead to significant sucrose losses, rendering them unusable.
Dr. Chandra Singh and his team at Lethbridge College are developing a remote wireless monitoring system for beet storage, which will allow for continuous temperature monitoring and efficient aeration. Once implemented, the system will enable producers to mitigate damage to their stored produce and ensure their suitability for refining in the spring.
This project is part of Alberta Innovates’ Smart Agriculture and Food Digitization and Automation Challenge.
Partners: Lethbridge College