Sugar crush put on hold at mill

Tablelands Advertiser - - LIFESTYLE - Bec Singh

UN­SEA­SONAL weather and un­ex­pected break­downs have pushed back the Tablelands Mill’s cane crush­ing sea­son.

MSF Sugar chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Barry said the Tablelands Mill’s end of sea­son date had also been re­vised fol­low­ing re­cov­ery from un­sea­sonal wet weather and storm ac­tiv­ity.

“While rain­fall stop­pages have had an im­pact, the mill ex­pe­ri­enced two light­ning strikes in Oc­to­ber, with the first sig­nif­i­cantly dam­ag­ing the mill’s trans­former,” he said.

“The first caused a power out­age that led to sig­nif­i­cant de­lays in pro­duc­tion as both the ar­restors and back-up gen­er­a­tor had to be re­built.

“While re­pair­ing the dam­age, ad­di­tional gen­er­a­tors were shipped in from Townsville which sup­ported the mill op­er­a­tions for 14 days un­til mains power sup­ply was re­stored.”

CRUSH­ING TO DATE

MSF Sugar Tablelands Mill has crushed 689, 717 tonnes this sea­son, with a CCS of 13.92. The crush­ing week ended De­cem­ber 3 and 96 per cent of this sea­son’s sugar cane has been crushed. This week there has been 23, 728 tonnes crushed with a CCS of 12.15. The crop es­ti­mates for this sea­son was 730,000.

An MSF Sugar spokes­woman said that thank­fully the sec­ond strike did not have as sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on pro­duc­tion as the first.

“The mill was off­line and it was enough to cause a power out­age but we did not ex­pe­ri­ence ma­jor de­lays,” she said.

“While we had the gen­er­a­tor, the mill was not run­ning at full ca­pac­ity be­cause we had to con­serve power.

“It was just so un­usual to be hit by light­ning and to be hit twice was dif­fer­ent. ”

While many have en­joyed the re­cent rain­fall the past cou­ple of weeks on the Tablelands, it has pushed back cane har­vest­ing.

The spokes­woman said it was un­usual to rain so heav­ily at this time of the sea­son.

“It is too early for this much rain,” she said.

“Thun­der­storms start about late Novem­ber, and we wouldn’t ex­pect heavy rain un­til about Christ­mas.”

She said as rain­fall started early, har­vest­ing was slower.

“While it is great to have the rain­fall as the farm­ers will need it for ir­ri­ga­tion but it also means the pad­docks can­not be har­vested on time,” she said.

“Cane grow­ers can­not take their heavy ma­chin­ery into the pad­dock be­cause it could get bogged which would cause other prob­lems.”

The spokes­woman said the an­tic­i­pated sea­son end for the Tablelands mill was to­day un­less there were any fur­ther de­lays.

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