Sugar mills across CQ set to complete crushing season
End of crushing in sight for Proserpine
CRUSHING is nearing the home stretch at Wilmar’s Proserpine Mill after reaching the one million tonne mark in recent weeks.
Cane farmer Doug Lee said he’s expecting to finishing cutting his crop next month.
“We started harvesting in July and have so far cut 67 per cent of our cane,” he said.
“We felt it was going to be a good season, and it has been, it’s just a bit dry.”
With tonnage down, Mr Lee said the crop is producing high amounts of sugar.
“It’s really good, it’s sweet, it’s sitting in the high 15s. You either get low tonnes with high sugar or the opposite, these years come and go,” he said.
“I personally prefer high tonnage because you get a bit more payment out of it.”
With harvesting continuing, Mr Lee said keeping the cane hydrated ensures they remain busy.
“We are flat out pumping water,” he said.
“It’s long nights and even longer days. Most of our time is spent shifting irrigation and pumping.”
Mr Lee said his farm is doing better now than it was this time last year.
“We had Cyclone Debbie
come through last year,” he said.
“The cane is standing up and doing better despite how dry it is, but all in all the crop itself is holding on alright.
“I really hope we’re producing better quality sugar because the cane is in a better order.”
Mr Lee did raise concerns about the lack of rain, warning that if it doesn’t come soon the tonnage will be down more next year.
“The ratoons aren’t coming up as good as they should be now,” he said.
Despite the lack of rain, Mr Lee is keeping positive.
“It always rains at the end of every drought,” he said.
“Right now we’re just looking towards next year.”
Wilmar’s Proserpine cane supply manager Tony Marino
❝out We are flat pumping water. It’s long nights and even longer days.
— Doug Lee
said the CCS levels are continuing to track above budget.
“Proserpine Mill has now processed 73 per cent of the district’s crop and CCS levels continue to track above budget,” he said.
“As of 11am Monday, the mill had crushed a total of
1.15 million tonnes of cane, out of a total estimated crop of 1.58 million tonnes.
“We’re slightly ahead of where we were at this time last year.
“At the end of week 13 in 2017 the mill had processed about 1.08 million tonnes of cane.”
He said the CCS figures have been relatively high throughout the season.
“The season-to-date figure is now sitting on 14.59 units, about 0.29 of a unit above budget,” he said.
“Strong milling performance and favourable weather conditions have enabled us to
make excellent headway with the crush this year.
“This operational reliability is due largely to Wilmar’s ongoing investment in capital and maintenance works.”
Mr Marino said the mill is expected to finish crushing towards the end of October based on the crop estimate.
REACHING THE END: Kelsey Creek grower Doug Lee and Proserpine cane supply manager Tony Marino shared their thoughts on the 2018 season.