BY GALEN KAUZLARICH, SALES MANAGER
Smith Fertilizer & Grain, Road Maintenance Division
I am writing in response to the article in the January 2013 issue entitled “Beat it, beet juice” by staff writer Dani Molnar. I have been the sales manager of the deicing division of Smith Fertilizer & Grain for over 10 years. We have always sold de-sugared sugar beet molasses (aka “beet juice”) and never once have we had the experiences indicated in the article. No customer has ever found grass clippings or leaves in their tanks or the product, and certainly no one has ever found a whole beet in the bottom of their tank. It is true that the product needs to be recirculated every 30 days from the bottom of tank to the bottom of tank to keep the solution in suspension. Even though the product is de-sugared, it still retains 16–17 percent sugar content. All of the distributors that we utilize filter the product coming into the plant upon purchase and again when going out to customers. The product is blended by our distributors to become a consistent product with many commercial uses.
Many customers want a non-chloride product so we do not add chloride at the plant before delivering. Some of our customers use the beet juice on their rock salt to help cut down corrosion. Another benefit is the overall reduction of chloride use which benefits the environment due to runoff.
Any of our distributors know the standard filtering process and the required filters are discussed with our customers so there are no issues of spraying systems clogging. The important issue when working with beet juice is to work with a reputable company. As with other products, there are always a few people who are going to cut corners and give the entire market a bad name.
Beet juice is still a viable deicing and anti-icing option. Costs are very competitive with this by-product and results continue to be favorable.