Strong cane harvesting season despite flood debris challenges

Cracker start to the 2017 sugar cane season in NSW.
Cracker start to the 2017 sugar cane season in NSW.

MORE than 40% of the two million tonne Sunshine Sugar cane crop was harvested in the first week of September, kicking off the 2017 cane season with a bang.

A wet start in June created some difficult conditions for both the harvesting and milling sectors, however the cane quality improved with cool, dry conditions bringing CCS (sugar content) and cane purity back to favourable levels.

CEO of Sunshine Sugar Chris Connors said the crops in the Tweed are "showing strong recovery” despite an earlier flood.

"Whilst growers and harvesting crews have had to deal with huge amounts of flood debris lodged in the cane, they have managed to keep supply up to the mill,” Mr Connors said.

As is the case in many flood affected cane areas of Queensland, it is only through the burning of crops that much of this debris can be accessed and removed.

The mill at Condong, which also suffered flood damage, has performed well which Mr Connors puts down to the efforts of employees and contractors involved in its repair and recommissioning.

To the south, the expansion into areas of the Richmond west of the Broadwater mill, towards Casino, is seeing good cane yields and excellent cane quality.

Mr Connors said the Broadwater mill has consistently performed well this year and is keeping up with the harvesting sector as they take advantage of the good field conditions.

Some newer cane varieties have also shown their potential, with Q208 a stand-out plant that is delivering excellent yields and sugar content across the three mill areas.

As the extended dry period enables the harvesting sector to maintain momentum, some spring rain will soon be welcome as growers look to begin planting new crops and fertilising their ratoons.

Topics:  crop northern rivers business sugar cane sunshine sugar

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