Sil­ver lin­ing in rain clouds

Mill hope­ful of good cane yields

The Cairns Post - - LIFESTYLE - AN­DREA FALVO

MSF Sugar Mul­grave Mill man­ager Chris Hoare re­mains op­ti­mistic for the up­com­ing 2018 cane crush­ing sea­son de­spite re­cent heavy rain and floods that dam­aged crops across the re­gion.

He said, while some grow­ers had been hit hard by the wet weather, oth­ers did not ex­pe­ri­ence such a big im­pact.

The crush­ing sea­son is ex­pected to start on June 12 for both the Mul­grave and South John­stone Mills.

“I think they’re qui­etly op­ti­mistic for what seems like a nor­mal sea­son,” he said.

“Cane has been stand­ing in wa­ter for a pe­riod of time so some ar­eas won’t get as big a big crop.

“But, hav­ing said that, there’s some cane around that’s look­ing very good.”

Mr Hoare said, while the full ex­tent of the dam­age caused to cane crops was yet to be de­ter­mined, ini­tial pre­dic­tions in­di­cated some grow­ers’ yields would be im­pacted.

“The es­ti­mates are still com­ing in, I don’t have any re­ports of sig­nif­i­cant dam­age,” he said.

“But I think there will be While hope­ful for a suc­cess­ful crush­ing sea­son, Mul­grave Mill man­ager Chris Hoare says his con­cern is sugar prices. “I’m look­ing for­ward to a pos­i­tive sea­son, prob­a­bly the only damp­ener is the sugar price,” he said. “We have a very prof­itable farm­ing sec­tor and be­ing a com­plete ex­port driven in­dus­try we rely on the sugar prices. It’s down on pre­vi­ous years … the out­looks are not that great.” some yield re­duc­tions and some farms will cut less than last year.

“The gen­eral im­pres­sion is it’s a bit mixed.”

Mr Hoare said reg­u­lar main­te­nance work was cur­rently be­ing car­ried at the Mul­grave Mill ahead of the crush, as well as work to re­pair cane rail in­fra­struc­ture that was dam­aged due to wet weather.

“In terms of in­fra­struc­ture we’ve had a lot of washout in parts of our cane rail in­fra­struc­ture and we’re still as­sess­ing the dam­age,” he said.

“Our teams are out re­pair­ing lines in cer­tain ar­eas but were very op­ti­mistic for the sea­son ahead.

“We’re hop­ing to have as big a crop as last year, prob­a­bly what we’re hop­ing for is a bit less rain dur­ing the sea­son, which has af­fected the last cou­ple of years.

“You do get some rain through the sea­son but you don’t want too much that it stops the har­vest.

“Gen­er­ally you get some in June/July then a bit later in the sea­son you can start to run into storms at the end around Oc­to­ber/Novem­ber.”

Fresh­wa­ter grower Mark Sav­ina was among those im­pacted by the re­cent wet weather with his crop along the Brins­mead-Kamerunga Rd ex­pe­ri­enc­ing flood­ing.

He said the big­gest im­pact go­ing into the 2018 har­vest was de­bris in his cane.

“It’s hard to see the full ex­tent of the dam­age un­til you get in­side the crop,” he said.

“There’s go­ing to be a lot of rub­bish in the cane and it’s go­ing to slow us down dur­ing har­vest.”

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Pic­ture: JUSTIN BRIERTY

WAD­ING THROUGH: Cane grower Mark Sav­ina ex­am­ines his de­bris strewn crop, along the Brins­mead-Kamerunga Rd at Fresh­wa­ter.

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