Rain puts damp­ener on harvest

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

HAR­VESTERS are cut­ting their way through cane fields and the stacks of the mill are bil­low­ing with steam once more – the 2015 cane crush­ing sea­son has be­gun.

Wil­mar Sugar oper­a­tions gen­eral man­ager Mike McLeod said while re­cent rain had re­stricted har­vest­ing in many parts of the dis­trict, there was still suf­fi­cient cane sup­ply to be­gin the crush.

The first bil­lets of cane were crushed at about 3pm yesterday.

“Only about half of the dis­trict’s har­vest­ing con­trac­tors are op­er­at­ing, pre­dom­i­nantly in south­ern and western parts of the dis­trict, which have re­ceived less rain,” Mr McLeod said.

“Given cur­rent ground con­di­tions, we don’t ex­pect the mill to achieve full cane sup­ply be­fore early next week.”

Out at Lethe­brook on Mon­day morn­ing, Hin­schen Har­vest­ing’s David Hin­schen be­gan cut­ting his first field of cane for the sea­son.

Mr Hin­schen said de­spite be­ing in one of the dis­trict’s dri­est ar­eas, things were still “a bit sticky”.

The Proser­pine Mill is ex­pected to crush about 1.76 mil­lion tonnes of cane this year.

Mr McLeod said based on the cur­rent crop es­ti­mate and al­low­ing for some in-sea­son wet weather, crush­ing should be fi­nalised in mid-Novem­ber.

Now the crush­ing sea­son is un­der way, res­i­dents are warned cane trains will be on the move at all hours of the day and night.

Mo­torists are urged to ap­proach cane rail­way cross­ings with cau­tion, obey all signs and sig­nals and al­ways give way to on­com­ing trains.

FULL STEAM AHEAD: Proser­pine’s 2015 crush­ing sea­son is now un­der way.

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