Cane sugar content highest in 20 years
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
CRUSHED OUT: The Wilmar Proserpine Mill crushed 1.56 million tonnes of cane.