Skip to Content

Beet Harvest Day 16 – The Piles are ALMOST Complete

Beet Harvest Day 16 – The Piles are ALMOST Complete

Morning Conditions:

🌡️ Temperature: 43 degrees F

☁️ Weather: Cloudy, Overcast, Few Rain Drops

💨 Wind: 5 mph

The Trucks are Dwindling

With each passing shift, we get fewer truckloads of sugar beets. Yesterday, of the 4 pilers, they only had 2 open. Today remains the same. 🚛

The air has a distinct moisture in the air and some of the mud has come back. The trucks might not get stuck here, but they have probably had trouble in the fields.

All four piles are almost complete up here, full to the top and not much concrete left.

Apparently, if one grower gets out there and digs, all of us have to work.

We Devise a New Break Schedule

A view of 4 cascading sugar beet piles toward the end of harvest.
The Piles Cascading with Few Trucks

Yesterday, two crews were told to wait in our cars…for five hours…on the clock. ⏰

I think they tried to wait and see if enough trucks would come in to open us back up. When not enough trucks came in, they combined crews. Therefore, each piler had 2 complete crew sets.

We got together and split ourselves into 3 smaller crews. This allowed us to work 1 hour on and 2 hours off. Everyone worked the same amount and got plenty of time for naps, social media (check out my instagram reels for the beet harvest! 📲) and whatever else they wanted to do.

I actually had enough time to make a reel and create graphics for a blog post about the sugar beet piler in the multitude of extra time! 👩‍💻

Even better, I had time to cook a hearty dinner!!! With two hours, we had plenty of time to cook as much chili as our largest pot could hold. We had enough for us, leftovers, and to share amongst our two crews and the scale house for those that wanted some. 🥣

Beet Piles are Almost Complete

We got word the piles were 94% complete this morning. I believe this is what the Ag described at “death by a thousand paper cuts.”

Trucks slowly trickle in with their last loads and we process them on fewer pilers.

Simply, it’s slow going.

But, we have our van here, so our home is here and we can entertain ourselves plenty in two hour breaks. I do feel for those who just have a tow car with them. The slow days seem harder for them to sit.

It Feels Almost Like Paid Days Off

A photo of a laminated photo of products that include beet sugar from this beet harvest.
Time Shack Photo of Beet Sugar Products

The slow trickle of trucks as the piles near completion really feel like almost like paid days off.

This morning on our first hour of “work,” no trucks even came near the piler and we didn’t even turn the machine on.

During our second hour of “work,” we processed 4 trucks in the last 15 minutes. The other 45 minutes, we tried to get the two skidsteer drivers to spin in synchronized circles. It didn’t quite work, but sure entertained us.

At one of our breaks, I investigated the poor quality photo of the products that American Crystal Sugar goes into in the time shack. I had no idea it went into Gatorade. 🤯

Go Give Piler 8 More Breaks

For the last two hours we got sent to piler 8. That was the one piler we hadn’t worked yet on this end.

And wow, they had a whole different crew culture down there. They had a 20 minute break cycle and had 3-4 people on the ground at a time. We’ve been only have 2 people on the ground.

If you’re efficient, you really only need 2 people on the ground.

The dirt return was also lower than all the other pilers. When one truck absolutely refused to listen to two of our hand signals, he scraped his truck right against the dirt return. It also broke off a piece of the canopy top the truck had.

We reported him to the foreman.

Evening Conditions:


🌡️ Temperature: 54 Degrees F

🌤️ Weather: Partly Cloudy, Warm Afternoon

💨 Wind: 5 mph

Making Money Harvesting Beets: Getting Here and Daily Updates - Traveling Nature Journal

Saturday 21st of October 2023

[…] Day 16 – The Piles are ALMOST Complete […]

Beet Harvest Day 17 - Time to Deep Clean the Piler

Friday 20th of October 2023

[…] ⬅️ Back to DAY – 16 Check Out Our Van ➡️ […]

Beet Harvest Day 15 - Guide to the Beet Piler Machine - Traveling Nature Journal

Thursday 19th of October 2023

[…] ⬅️ Back to DAY – 14 Onto DAY – 16 ➡️ […]

Comments are closed.