Sugar crush put on hold at mill
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.