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Beet Harvest Day 6 – What’s Special About Deep Freeze Piles

Beet Harvest Day 6 – What’s Special About Deep Freeze Piles

Morning Conditions:

🌡️ Temperature: 34 degrees F

☀️ Weather: Sunny

💨 Wind: 5 mph

Things I’ve Learned Recently

  1. Beet piles without ventilation can only pile beets between 30-55 degrees.
  2. Deep freeze beet piles (with ventilation) can pile beets up to 65 degrees.
  3. These machines need oil and grease at least every 24 hours. The person who does this is called a “Greaser.” Our greaser is awesome!
  4. If you consistently put the dirt in the back of the truck and smile at them (making the truck driver’s life easier) they’ll bring you candy.

Deep Freeze Beet Piles

These piles get ventilation tubes that run underneath the pile. This ventilation allows them to be piled at higher temperatures because cooler air can run through the bottom. Thus, preventing it from starting to compost.

These piles run the edges of the yard.

One they create deep freeze piles, they will use the ventilation tubes to freeze the piles. Thus, they preserve the beets for a much longer time.

The factory has already started eating the back of pile 5.

In contrast, the deep freeze piles won’t get eaten by the factory until maybe May of the next year. This allows the factory to produce sugar year round.

Still Plagued by Mud

A piler and a pile of beets.
Our PIle – NOT Deep Freeze (No Culverts)

Our foreman had one side of our piler closed for the first several hours of the shift due to deep mud. Despite the lack of rain for 3 whole days, one side had a solid 6-12 in slurry.

Just when it would start to solidify, a truck doesn’t crank the wheel and ends up in the ditch. Then, the foreman zips along in the loader and pulls him out (so far, I’ve only seen male truckers get stuck). Then, he gives the trucker a nice little lecture on how to turn a truck around without getting stuck.

I honestly don’t understand why they don’t extend the concrete slab. It seems like it would pay for itself in less than one beet season. The amount of time they’re having to pay the foreman to literally pull trucks out of the mud is comical.

That side solidified “enough” by about 11:30am.

A Line Full of Trucks

A line of dump trucks filled with sugar beets.
The Waiting Line

We’ve stayed quite busy the entire morning, even with one side closed! Each piler has a line 2-10 trucks deep.

Yesterday, I heard the lines here got longer because another piling site without deep freeze piles had to shut down entirely. That meant that this yard had to absorb all of their traffic as well.

Multiple Piler Issues at Shift Change

An empty dump truck gets stuck in the mud at the beet harvest.
Empty Truck Stuck in the Mud

Just when I thought the shift was going to be uneventful, the last hour of the shift, shit started to go down.

Every 3rd truck started to get stuck on the right side of the piler. As the sun goes down, the trucks don’t seem to notice the ditch. Thus, they don’t cut the turns tight enough to get through.

When a truck got stuck right around 7pm, we signaled around and the piler operator called the foreman on the radio.


The piler operator called again.


Our skidsteer speeds up. We chat on the reg now. He said there was a massive problem on 5 and it closed. It had the day foreman, the night foreman, and the night Ag supervisor on it.

Since the gossip mill is rampant, I want to hear more at the safety meeting before writing. ‘Til tomorrow…

Evening Conditions:


🌡️ Temperature: 44 Degrees F

☀️ Weather: Sunny, Cloudless at Nightfall

💨 Wind: 5-10 mph

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Wednesday 11th of October 2023

[…] ⬅️ Back to DAY 6 Check Out Our Van ➡️ […]

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Tuesday 10th of October 2023

[…] ⬅️ Back to DAY 6 Check Out Our Van ➡️ […]

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