RED RIVER VALLEY -

This year's sugar beet harvest gets off to an early start with some farmers starting as early as Monday morning.

It seems like 2016 will be an above average season for sugar beets and that's the good news.

Of course, all good news can come with some bad news.

The official start date for the sugar beet harvest is October 8th but like last year, some major producers got started early.

And that means it's been a good year for beet farmers.

"We're looking at a pretty nice crop even though the north half is struggling the south half has a very nice crop," says Dan Gowan Director of Agriculture at American Crystal Sugar.

Each year the estimated yield for the year is looked at.

Producers know how many beets they can process between October and May so if the actual number of beets is greater than that they start up the factories on a smaller scale at an earlier date to deal with the excess.

"We know that there is a greater risk of storing beets after May 15th then there are the losses of having a smaller crop dug up earlier in the year like on August 15th," says Duane Maatz, Executive Director of the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association.

Even though this year's harvest is expected to be a big one, that doesn't mean it's going to go without its fair share of challenges.

Unlike last year when farmers were concerned there wasn't enough water in the soil for the harvest this year there is a concern that there may be too much.

And all that water is preventing some sites in the northern half from getting the head start they need.

"So doggone wet. We didn't even open sites, those two yards today. Hopefully we'll get them tomorrow," says Gowan.

The water can also be bad news for the quality of the crops.

"And we're also concerned about making sure the crop has optimal growth conditions because additional rain at this point does not necessarily help us," says Maatz.

Unfortunately, this business is at the whim of Mother Nature.

"Yeah there's nothing you can do. You know these things they're planted in the ground and we got to go after them. If the ground is that muddy there's nothing we can do but wait for conditions to get better, Says Gowan.

Even with the excess water in the north, Gowan told KVRR American Crystal Sugar is expecting a yield of 10.5 to 11 million tons of sugar beets this year.

They'll just have to wait for things to dry up before they can get started harvesting the rest.