Rainfall would be sweet relief
A FEW nice showers would be a welcome boost to Mackay region canefarmers midway through the season.
As the harvest nears the 50% mark in the Plane Creek Mill area and is at 44% in Mackay Sugar district, growers are relieved to see the remainder of the crop beginning to show signs of rising sugar content.
Canegrowers Mackay Chairman Kevin Borg, who is a Plane Creek Mill supplier, said the increases were starting to show in the weekly averages for CCS (Plane Creek Mill) and PRS (Mackay Sugar mills) which were now hovering in the mid- to high-14s range.
“On a weekly basis, we are now starting to see jumps in sugar readings of .4 and .5 units of CCS and PRS,” Mr Borg said.
Mr Borg said the continuing dry weather combined with intermittent cold spells had also contributed to accelerating the maturity of the remaining crop.
“Although the crop has been reduced due to the damage sustained by Tropical Cyclone Debbie in late March, this higher sugar content will go some way to filling the gap in overall sugar production in the Mackay and Plane Creek region.”
Wilmar Sugar’s Plane Creek Mill, in the week ending August 26, crushed 63,942 tonnes bringing the season’s total to 560,144 tonnes. In this same week, the mill’s average CCS was 14.61 with the season to date average at 13.13.
Mackay Sugar’s three mills processed 210,340 tonnes (Farleigh 59,771 tonnes, Marian 84,301 tonnes and Racecourse 66,268 tonnes) for the week ending August 27 bringing its season total to 2,286,758 tonnes, and PRS for the week of 14.84 and average to date 12.51.
He said as cane paddocks continued to ‘dry out’ it was becoming more apparent that while good for harvesting, each week from now without moisture would adversely impact the strength of the start of the 2018 crop.
“Ratooning has slowed down for those growers without irrigation, and some are now struggling to access enough moisture to germinate their late plant cane.
“Farming is like that, we need it dry sometimes and sometimes we need it wet.
“It has got to the stage now that a rainfall event with anything up to 60mm would be very welcome,” Mr Borg said.
NEEDED: Racecourse Mill near Mackay.