Crush­ing end to cane sea­son

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By DONNA-MARIE MILNE

MOSS­MAN Mill will close its doors for the year to­mor­row af­ter a frus­trat­ing sea­son.

Mackay Su­gar Moss­man Mill man­ager Ha­dyn Slat­tery said the mill lost a full week of pro­duc­tion due to wet weather.

“We’ve had a good sea­son, but un­for­tu­nately had to cut it a lit­tle bit short due to the weather,” he said.

The fi­nal crush­ing to­tal for the sea­son was ap­prox­i­mately 510,000 tonnes, against the expected crop es­ti­mate of 540,000.

“Ob­vi­ously it was sig­nif­i­cantly lower than expected, this dif­fer­ence is equitable to an ex­tra week’s cut­ting, but there’s noth­ing you can do about the weather,” Mr Slat­tery said.

Cane Su­gar Con­tent av­er­aged at 12.9, which was slightly lower than expected.

Mr Slat­tery is hop­ing for favourable weather over the com­ing months to en­sure a bumper crop next year.

“We’re hop­ing for steamy hot weather and lots of rain over the sum­mer months to in­crease next year’s yield,” he said.

Moss­man Cane­grow­ers chair­man Drew Wat­son said it had been a “rea­son­able year”.

“Last year the CCS was up and ton­nage was down, this year ton­nage is up and CCS in down,” he said.

“All re­turns are look­ing good for next year, but what we must do is work on bet­ter pro­duc­tion of ex­ist­ing ground, with more plant­ing, more va­ri­eties, and con­tin­u­ing to in­crease staff morale.

“We’ve been get­ting a fair price and we’re in the black rather than the red, which is pos­i­tive.”

Mackay Su­gar ac­quired the Mill in a $25.3 mil­lion takeover in May, which is prov­ing to de­liver an econ­o­my­boost­ing ex­pan­sion for cane grow­ing in the re­gion.

“The takeover has been great for the mill, it has cre­ated a real cer­tainty for the fu­ture of cane growth in the re­gion, and a huge ex­pan­sion in land of 400 hectares, mean­ing an in­creased pro­jected yield of 60,000 tonnes,” Mr Slat­tery said.

The mill will now un­dergo an ex­ten­sive main­te­nance pro­gram be­fore next sea­son.

Moss­man Mill off­shoot, Moss­man Su­gar Com­pany Ltd, which bags food grade su­gar un­der the la­bel Dain­tree Gold, was also pre­par­ing for close of sea­son.

Man­ager Al­lan John­stone said they had bagged 11,000 tonnes of food grade su­gar for the sea­son.

“It’s slightly down on ex­pec­ta­tions as we’ve had to close up a week early, but it’s still good,” he said.

WIND­ING UP: Moss­man Mill’s Des Whitely fills one of the last bags for the sea­son

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