Featured Grower - Jay Anderson

Meet Jay Anderson!

Jay Anderson grew up in Southern Alberta where he quickly developed a passion for the ag industries. After graduating high school, he studied Agriculture in Lethbridge before finishing with a master’s degree from Saskatchewan in 2012.  He now works for Lantic/Rogers in Taber, Alberta as a Research Agronomist.  A large portion of his job is conducting field trials – growing various plots and varieties of sugar beets, applying different farming practices to them, seeing what methods are most successful and helping farmers adjust their own practices to produce the best possible crop possible.

What’s your background?
I started with Lantic in 2012 as a Field Manager.  After three years, I went to work for the Potato Growers Association and then came back to Lantic in 2017 as a Research Agronomist.  I like to joke that there’s two sugar beet Research Agronomists in all of Canada – myself and Peter Regitnig.

How would you describe your role?
Well, the growers are on the frontline, but we try to help them do better and make a more stable, sustainable industry by coming up with practices that produce better extractable sugar.  My job is to be out in the field, applying the treatments and supporting the farmers.

Where do you see the future of sugar beets going?
I see the industry getting better and better.  I’ve been involved with the company since 2012 and both the growers and the company have come a long way.  With the people we have at the company, I see the relationship improving and getting stronger.  As for the quality of beets and the amount of sugar we’re growing, it keeps going up and I hope to see that continue.

What are some recent changes you’ve seen?
Over the years the growers have been producing a better-quality sugar beet and it’s up to the company to be able to extract that sugar.  For example, the company is trying to do things to make storage better and to have healthier beet piles, such as harvesting at certain times so you’re not putting frozen or hot beets into storage.
Our awareness of issues like those has been key.  I feel like we are doing a better job at extracting that sugar and the growers are producing a better-quality beet that’s easier to extract sugar from.

What’s the most interesting research study that you’ve participated in?
The growth rate study – this was something that hadn’t been done since the 60’s and we recently did four years of that project.  Every year we watched the sugar accumulate and the root bulk over a 12-week period.  We did 6 harvest dates, starting on July 15 and going every 15 days.  I think a lot of growers thought that most sugar accumulation and root bulking was happening in October, but it showed that a lot of that growth was happening in late July.  It was just kind of eye-opening and neat.  I think it helped growers to make management decisions and the company to understand the forecasting of their neo rates.

Alberta Sugar Beet Growers

5220 – 50th Ave, Taber, AB
P.O. Box 4944, T1G 2E1
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