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The 2020 sugar cane crush­ing sea­son is now well un­der­way with the Labasa Mill hav­ing started crush­ing on June 10, 2020, fol­lowed by Rarawai on June 23 2020 and the Lau­toka Mill on July 10, 2020.

For the pe­riod end­ing 13th July 2020, a to­tal of 182,545 tonnes of cane have been crushed rep­re­sent­ing just un­der 10 per cent of the an­tic­i­pated sea­sonal es­ti­mate of cane avail­able for crush­ing. This com­pares to an equiv­a­lent ton­nage of 137,446 tonnes crushed in 2019 – an im­prove­ment of 33 per cent year on year.

Na­tion­ally, mill per­for­mance shows an up­ward trend, with op­er­at­ing time ef­fi­ciency 40 per cent higher than last year and av­er­age weekly mill stop­pages 28 per cent lower.

Sugar pro­duc­tion of 14,016 tonnes to date is 22 per cent higher than in the equiv­a­lent pe­riod in 2019, but dis­ap­point­ingly cane pu­rity and re­cov­er­able sugar rates re­main be­low last year and be­low ex­pec­ta­tion.

Re­cent cool dry weather will hope­fully re­verse this trend.

Labasa Mill

The Labasa Mill is per­form­ing very well, hav­ing crushed 113,188 tonnes of cane in five weeks of op­er­a­tion.

Cane sup­ply has been strong and mill stop­pages low, re­sult­ing in smooth op­er­a­tions.

To date the mill has recorded me­chan­i­cal stop­pages on av­er­age of only 2.8 hours per week.

Sugar re­cov­ery is im­prov­ing and to date TCTS (tonnes cane per tonne of sugar) is recorded at 11.4.

Rarawai Mill

The Rarawai Mill has been crush­ing for three weeks and has pro­cessed 65,982 tonnes of cane.

Daily crush rates have im­proved since start up and the mill is achiev­ing its daily tar­geted crush.

Fur­ther in­creases are an­tic­i­pated to match strong cane sup­ply.

Pref­er­ence has been given to man­ual cut­ting gangs to sup­ply cane whilst labour sup­ply is good and me­chan­i­cal har­vest­ing will pick up in the com­ing weeks, with the Rarawai mill look­ing to crush on Sun­day to cater for me­chan­i­cal harvester sup­ply.

Lau­toka Mill

The Lau­toka Mill started crush­ing on July 10 and to date has crushed for three days,pro­cess­ing 3,375 tonnes of cane.

The pre-crush prob­lem with the Lau­toka boiler fan has been re­solved, with lo­cal re­fur­bish­ment and re­pair. A burst bulk water pipeline also had to be re­paired on July 12.

The mill is de­lib­er­ately be­ing run slowly in these first few days and through­put will in­crease steadily as op­er­a­tions set­tle. Cane sup­ply is ad­e­quate from both man­ual and me­chan­i­cal har­vest­ing gangs.

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