Rain­fall would be sweet re­lief

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO: DAVID MAR­TYR

NEEDED: Race­course Mill near Mackay.

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