U.S. sugar prices closed about 3 percent higher Dec. 1 after a federal judge ruled the day before that genetically modified sugar beet stecklings must be dug up.

U.S. raw sugar prices for the November 2011 futures contract closed at 35.08 cents per pound. The January 2012 contract closed at 33.45 cents per pound.

"There was a pretty substantial movement higher during the day," said Frank Jenkins, president of the Jenkins Sugar Group.

"I think people are still curious to see if there will be some sort of appeal, but it's certainly not good news for the beet industry in the U.S." he said.

Craig Ruffolo, a commodities analyst with McKeany-Flavell in Oakland, Calif., noted that Judge Jeffrey White's ruling regarding seed stecklings has no bearing on whether farmers will be allowed to plant the Roundup Ready root crop next year. The USDA has released a plan that would allow growers to do just that.

White's ruling "has zero influence on the plantings that will happen next spring," Ruffolo said. "So as far as my outlook for 2011 is concerned, it hasn't changed it one bit."

-- Dave Wilkins

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