Su­gar mills across CQ set to com­plete crush­ing sea­son

End of crush­ing in sight for Pros­er­pine

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

CRUSH­ING is near­ing the home stretch at Wil­mar’s Proser­pine Mill af­ter reach­ing the one mil­lion tonne mark in re­cent weeks.

Cane farmer Doug Lee said he’s ex­pect­ing to fin­ish­ing cut­ting his crop next month.

“We started har­vest­ing in July and have so far cut 67 per cent of our cane,” he said.

“We felt it was go­ing to be a good sea­son, and it has been, it’s just a bit dry.”

With ton­nage down, Mr Lee said the crop is pro­duc­ing high amounts of sugar.

“It’s re­ally good, it’s sweet, it’s sit­ting in the high 15s. You ei­ther get low tonnes with high sugar or the op­po­site, these years come and go,” he said.

“I per­son­ally pre­fer high ton­nage be­cause you get a bit more pay­ment out of it.”

With har­vest­ing con­tin­u­ing, Mr Lee said keep­ing the cane hy­drated en­sures they re­main busy.

“We are flat out pump­ing wa­ter,” he said.

“It’s long nights and even longer days. Most of our time is spent shift­ing ir­ri­ga­tion and pump­ing.”

Mr Lee said his farm is do­ing bet­ter now than it was this time last year.

“We had Cy­clone Deb­bie

come through last year,” he said.

“The cane is stand­ing up and do­ing bet­ter de­spite how dry it is, but all in all the crop it­self is hold­ing on al­right.

“I re­ally hope we’re pro­duc­ing bet­ter qual­ity sugar be­cause the cane is in a bet­ter or­der.”

Mr Lee did raise con­cerns about the lack of rain, warn­ing that if it doesn’t come soon the ton­nage will be down more next year.

“The ra­toons aren’t com­ing up as good as they should be now,” he said.

De­spite the lack of rain, Mr Lee is keep­ing pos­i­tive.

“It al­ways rains at the end of ev­ery drought,” he said.

“Right now we’re just look­ing to­wards next year.”

Wil­mar’s Proser­pine cane sup­ply man­ager Tony Marino

❝out We are flat pump­ing wa­ter. It’s long nights and even longer days.

— Doug Lee

said the CCS lev­els are con­tin­u­ing to track above bud­get.

“Proser­pine Mill has now pro­cessed 73 per cent of the district’s crop and CCS lev­els con­tinue to track above bud­get,” he said.

“As of 11am Mon­day, the mill had crushed a to­tal of

1.15 mil­lion tonnes of cane, out of a to­tal es­ti­mated crop of 1.58 mil­lion tonnes.

“We’re slightly ahead of where we were at this time last year.

“At the end of week 13 in 2017 the mill had pro­cessed about 1.08 mil­lion tonnes of cane.”

He said the CCS fig­ures have been rel­a­tively high through­out the sea­son.

“The sea­son-to-date fig­ure is now sit­ting on 14.59 units, about 0.29 of a unit above bud­get,” he said.

“Strong milling per­for­mance and favourable weather con­di­tions have en­abled us to

make ex­cel­lent head­way with the crush this year.

“This op­er­a­tional re­li­a­bil­ity is due largely to Wil­mar’s on­go­ing in­vest­ment in cap­i­tal and main­te­nance works.”

Mr Marino said the mill is ex­pected to fin­ish crush­ing to­wards the end of Oc­to­ber based on the crop es­ti­mate.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

REACH­ING THE END: Kelsey Creek grower Doug Lee and Proser­pine cane sup­ply man­ager Tony Marino shared their thoughts on the 2018 sea­son.

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