Cane sugar con­tent high­est in 20 years

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

CANE crops in Cen­tral Queens­land have pro­duced the high­est sugar con­tent in 20 years.

Dry and cool weather stopped cane grow­ing, caus­ing it to store more su­crose in the stork.

Gen­eral man­ager of cane sup­ply and grower re­la­tions, Paul Gior­dani, said Wil­mar’s mills recorded above-av­er­age CCS (com­mer­cial cane sugar) lev­els this year.

“CCS is re­ally the good news story for 2018,” he said.

“Ev­ery re­gion ended up with a sea­son CCS around half a unit higher than ear­lier ex­pec­ta­tions, or even bet­ter.

“The Bur­dekin mills pro­cessed more than eight mil­lion tonnes of cane and fin­ished with a sea­son av­er­age of 15 units – giv­ing it the high­est CCS in the Aus­tralian sugar in­dus­try this year.”

Wil­mar Sugar has wrapped up the 2018 crush, pro­duc­ing more than two mil­lion tonnes of raw sugar across its eight mills.

Mr Gior­dani said Wil­mar’s mills had pro­cessed 15.44 mil­lion tonnes of sug­ar­cane in a sea­son char­ac­terised by dry con­di­tions and high sugar con­tent.

“This has been one of the dri­est crush­ing sea­sons in years, with very lit­tle in-sea­son rain in our Bur­dekin, Her­bert, Proser­pine and Plane Creek milling re­gions. This has re­sulted in a re­duced crop but good sugar con­tent.”

Mr Gior­dani said Wil­mar’s mills had pro­duced about 2.22 mil­lion tonnes of raw sugar, most of which is des­tined for Asian mar­kets.

PROSER­PINE

WIL­MAR’S Proser­pine Mill was the first of the com­pany’s sites to com­plete crush­ing this year.

Proser­pine cane sup­ply man­ager Tony Marino said the crop was be­low orig­i­nal es­ti­mates due to the dry weather.

“The mill crushed 1.56 mil­lion tonnes of cane to pro­duce 230,000 tonnes of raw sugar,” he said.

“How­ever, the sea­son CCS of 14.95 was one of the best in 20 years.”

Although the end re­sult was down on pre­dic­tions, the site’s crush was up on last year.

“It was up on the 1.43 mil­lion tonnes pro­duced in 2017, fol­low­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie. How­ever, it was still some way off the two mil­lion tonne crop pro­cessed in 2016,” he said.

MACKAY

A SPOKESMAN for Mackay Sugar said the cane sup­ply was clean cut with above-bud­get PRS lev­els achieved.

“The to­tal crop har­vested was 4.67 mil­lion tonnes, down from the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate of 5.1 mil­lion tonnes,” he said.

“All mills did not reach their ini­tial es­ti­mate tar­gets, Race­course crushed 1.26 mil­lion tonnes, Far­leigh 1.37 mil­lion tonnes and Mar­ian 2.03 mil­lion tonnes.

“Within the fac­to­ries, crit­i­cal in­spec­tions and tar­geted main­te­nance has com­menced to im­prove rate, re­li­a­bil­ity and re­cov­er­ies for the 2019 sea­son.

“Field staff are cur­rently map­ping the ar­eas for next sea­son.

“The re­cent bush­fires have af­fected the re­gion and an assess­ment of the dam­age to the crop is ex­pected in the next week.”

SA­RINA

THE Wil­mar Plane Creek Mill re­ported a down­sized crop with a good sugar con­tent.

Plane Creek sup­ply man­ager John Tait said the mill pro­cessed 1.143 mil­lion tonnes of cane to pro­duce 162,000 tonnes of raw sugar.

“The sea­son av­er­age CCS was 14.7 units – 0.33 units above ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

“It was also up on last year’s 13.98 and the 12.96 units recorded in 2016.”

BUND­ABERG

MILLAQUIN pro­duc­tion man­ager Guiseppe Barazza said the crush­ing went smoothly in the Bund­aberg re­gion.

“The mills crushed 1.385 mil­lion tonnes and we had a de­cent CCS of 14.81. It was a short sea­son this year and the farm­ers usu­ally like that,” he said.

“It gives them more grow­ing time be­tween now and the next crop.”

Mr Barazza said the un­event­ful sea­son meant there were no weather stops.

“The only real down­fall to this year was the fact it was very dry,” he said.

“We had a good bit of rain after fin­ish­ing, which is a good start to the non-crush.

“Cane gen­er­ally goes re­ally well when you get rain at the right time.”

MARY­BOR­OUGH

2018 was the eighth high­est crush in Mary­bor­ough’s 124-year cane crush­ing his­tory.

MSF gen­eral man­ager for the Mary­bor­ough re­gion, Ste­wart Nor­ton, said the mill crushed just over 795,000 tonnes.

“We only crushed about 598,000 tonnes last year, so we were well up,” he said.

“We had what we called Simp­son Desert weather – it was freez­ing cold at night and warmer dur­ing the day. How­ever, be­cause of that the crop did sus­tain some frost.”

PHOTO: FILE

CRUSHED OUT: The Wil­mar Proser­pine Mill crushed 1.56 mil­lion tonnes of cane.

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