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15 June, 2020

Delay to cane crushing season.

The 2020 sugar cane crush has technically begun with the first mills firing up last week, but some mills in Far North Queensland have had to delay opening due to the late rain the region has received over the past few weeks.

By Phil Brandel

The 2020 sugar cane crush has technically begun with the first mills firing up last week, but some mills in Far North Queensland have had to delay opening due to the late rain the region has received over the past few weeks.

The MSF Sugar Mill at Arriga between Mareeba and Atherton starting crushing on June 3 while their Gordonvale and South Johnstone Mills have yet to come online.

A spokesperson from MSF said they hoped that both mills “would be ready to start crushing today (June 16) depending on the weather”

MSF also said that early estimates are that they will crush around 1,261,000 tonnes this season.

Tully Sugar began crushing on June 10 and the Mossman Mill is also hoping to start today (June 16).

Far Northern Milling Mossman Mill manager Peter Dibella said: “We are expecting to crush 702,000 tonnes which is slightly up un last year but is slightly below our yearly average.”

Wilmar Sugar’s Victoria and Macknade Mills near Ingham have also delayed their opening due to the late-season rain.

A spokesperson from Wilmar said, “At this stage, we plan to start crushing this week, weather permitting. With rain forecast over the coming days, we will review the start date on a day-by-day basis.”

Australian Sugar Milling Council director of government and industry affairs Jim Crane said production forecasts were slightly higher than last year, but it was hard to tell what global sugar prices would do.

"The effect of the coronavirus pandemic on sugar prices is difficult to predict, but with most of our raw sugar exported onto the highly competitive global market, we are watching developments closely," Mr Crane said.

“The crop is looking very similar to last year, but this late rain is problematic for a couple of Far North Queensland mills to get started. “

Mr Crane said that the late rain will encourage some late growth in the crop and there could be some improvements to be expected.

“At the moment the late rain is a hindrance because we would like to have started the crush in earnest, but sometimes it can mean additional tonnes of cane, so that could be a positive, “he said

“The late start could also mean a late finish into November which is getting very close to the start of the next wet season. We are hoping for some fine weather between now and September.”

Mr Crane also had some warnings for residents concerning can trains

“Cane trains are going to be very active over the next few months, so we are asking all residents to be aware of the trains and to respect all warnings and train crossings.”

 

 

 

 


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