Moss­man wins the race de­spite rainy sea­son

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - RURAL INSIGHT - Shane Ni­chols

THE Moss­man Mill is on track to fin­ish its crush­ing sea­son on Novem­ber 15, in what man­ager Haydn Slat­tery says is a mon­u­men­tal per­for­mance.

The wettest sea­son in about five years caused a loss of 24 days but bet­ter pro­duc­tiv­ity at the mill meant that in fact the crush will go over time by only one week – and in do­ing so it will have pro­cessed about a week’s worth of ex­tra cane to bring the ton­nage up to 900,000 tonnes, more than the 850,000 sea­son es­ti­mated to­tal.

Mr Slat­tery thinks the mill will be one of the first in Queens­land to fin­ish its crush. Some of the oth­ers may rat­tle on well into De­cem­ber.

“We’re pretty happy with that,” Mr Slat­tery told the

“We’ve man­aged to claw back most of those 24 days [the mill had al­lowed for 10 lost days only] due to im­proved op­er­a­tional rate as well as plant avail­abil­ity.

“I’m very happy with how our plant and peo­ple have gone,” he said.

He said the op­er­a­tional rate – the through­put of cane ton­nage – was now at the demon­strated ca­pac­ity of the mill and back to where it was once was about 12 years ago.

This op­ti­mum per­for­mance had been achieved thanks to the last three years of im­prove­ments to plant in­fra­struc­ture and the tar­get­ted main­te­nance.

“It’s the culmination of those things that has re­turned the plant to the crush­ing rate it used to do in the early 2000s,” Mr Slat­tery said.

See­ing as the plant now meets its demon­strated ca­pa­bil­ity, he ex­pects next year’s rate to be about the same and there is noth­ing planned in the off sea­son to im­prove “how fast we crush”.

“But what we will be fo­cus­ing on in our off sea­son is re­li­a­bil­ity.”

Of main fo­cus in the off sea­son will be the boil­ers and the milling train.

Re­gard­ing the boil­ers, stack emis­sions as well as re­li­a­bil­ity “are some­thing we are al­ways look­ing to im­prove,” he said.

The rain has helped pro­duce a big crop, amount­ing to an ex­tra week of crush­ing. But it has also seen the CCS take a sig­nif­i­cant dip this sea­son. Farm­ers are paid on that su­gar con­tent.

The higher yield may yet com­pen­sate some­what for the lower CCS – and given the buoy­ant su­gar price of late, per­haps some farm­ers will see some eco­nomic sun­shine.

Moss­man Mill man­ager Haydn Slat­tery

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