THE first cane of the Burdekin’s 2013 crushing season has gone through the mill rollers and is on its way to becoming raw sugar.
Invicta Mill was the first of Wilmar Sugar’s four Burdekin mills to start crushing, getting under way about 11am Tuesday.
Pioneer Mill followed suit within the hour, with Inkerman and Kalamia mills starting later in the day.
A total of about 34,000 tonnes of cane was expected to be harvested across the district.
Wilmar Sugar Grower and Community Relations General Manager John Pratt said cane supply would build throughout the week, as the mills settled and crushing rates increased.
“Some parts of the district are too damp from recent showers for harvesting to commence,” he said.
“However, there will still be sufficient cane supply to keep the mills crushing while the factories are settling down.
“Invicta was not expected to have enough cane supply to start its second milling train until later tomorrow yesterday.
“Provided the weather remains fine, we think all mills should achieve full cane supply by the end of the week.”
The Burdekin’s pre-season estimate is 7.44 million tonnes of cane.
A significant area of cane across the district is affected by Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS).
In the lead up to the crushing, Wilmar Sugar did a series of small mill trials to compare the sugar content of YCS-impacted cane with cane considered to be healthy.
“Unfortunately, the CCS levels in the YCS cane was up to two units lower than the other cane,” he said.
“Now crushing has commenced, we’ll start to get a clearer picture of how the YCS outbreak has affected overall productivity.”
With cane trains now on the move around the clock, Mr Pratt urged motorists to approach all cane railway crossings with caution.
“Motorists should always obey signs and signals at crossings and give way to oncoming cane trains,” he said.
“People should also stay off cane bins and keep clear of our cane railway corridor, including our cane railway bridges.”
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