Burdekin sweet, Herbert River sour
Cane crush a mixed bag
WILMAR Sugar’s Burdekin mills have crushed their first million tonnes of cane for the 2015 season – reaching the milestone yesterday on day 21 of the crushing season.
But the crush has got off to a disappointing start in the Herbert River district, with low sugar content levels and mill stoppages due to rain.
Wilmar Sugar cane supply and grower relations general manager Paul Giordani said the opening weeks of the crushing season in the Burdekin had gone well.
“It’s great to pass the onemillion- tonnes- crushed mark in June. It means we’ve already crushed about 12 per cent of this year’s crop, which is estimated at 8.27 million tonnes,” he said.
Mr Giordani said that other than an initial disruption at Invicta, the district had escaped rain delays. “The Burdekin has certainly fared better than many other cane- growing regions. Most parts of the district have received showers in the past few weeks but not enough to disrupt the mills,” he said.
Mr Giordani said cane quality had generally been good and sugar content levels were reasonable for the time of year – with the CCS measure averaging 12.97 for the district.
However, growers have had little to celebrate in the Herbert River district, with CCS levels averaging 10.68 and major delays due to unseasonal wet weather.
Wilmar Herbert cane supply manager Jim Kirchner said sugar levels were lower than normal for the start of the season, but this was not unexpected given the persistent rain.
“CCS levels are slowly improving in the Herbert region after a disappointing start last week,” he said.
“The season average is currently 10.68, with a mixed performance from different cane varieties.”
Herbert River Canegrowers manager Peter Sheedy said the district usually started the crushing with CCS levels around 11.5 or 12 – roughly one point higher than this year’s start- of- crush figures.
“On top of that, about 700 tonnes of cane harvested so far has tested below 7 CCS, which means it’s excluded from pool average CCS and from other payment pool entitlements and levies,” he said.
He attributed the poor sugar levels to a failed wet season followed by unseasonal winter showers.
“Basically the crop growth mode,” he said.
Meanwhile, Macknade Mill was shut down on Monday afternoon due to insufficient cane supply and is not expected to resume operations until later this week.