Crush winds up in North

Sugar season draws to a close in North Queensland

Agribusiness
Most of the raw sugar produced at Wilmar's eight North Queensland mills is bound for the export market, from ports including Lucinda and Townsville.

Most of the raw sugar produced at Wilmar's eight North Queensland mills is bound for the export market, from ports including Lucinda and Townsville.

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North Queensland's sugar season is drawing to a close with the first of Wilmar's eight mills expected to crush out next week.

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NORTH Queensland's sugar season is drawing to a close with the first of Wilmar's eight mills expected to crush out next week.

At the end of last week, 87 per cent of the total crop had been crushed, or a total of 12.92 million tonnes.

Since the season kicked off in June, about 1.84 million tonnes of raw sugar had been processed, with most destined for the export market.

But it has been a difficult season for growers in the region, who were first hampered with wet weather early in the year, and then suffered from little in-crop rain.

Wilmar's general manager cane supply and grower relations Paul Giordani said the run of dry months had taken a toll on the sugar cane crop, and they had revised their crop estimate down to 14.76 million tonnes.

Mr Giordani said the Proserpine Mill was expected to be the first to crush out, with an expected finish date of November 15.

As of last Thursday, 88 per cent of the region's forecast 1.55 million tonne crop, or 1.36 million tonnes had been crushed.

He said the season-to-date CCS reached a milestone of 14 units last week.

"The condition of the crop has dropped off due to the ongoing dry weather, and the average yield for cane harvested last week was 67 tonnes per hectare," Mr Giordani said.

The Burdekin mills reached the milestone of seven million tonnes crushed on Monday, October 28.

The four mills have now crushed more than 90 per cent of their forecast 7.9 million tonne crop with the last expected to crush out on November 18.

Mr Giordani said cane quality in the Herbert had started to decline due to the continuing dry conditions.

"The harvesting sector is doing a great job at maintaining cane supply to the factories, despite low bin weights."

The region has crushed more than 84 per cent of their forecast 4.04 million tonnes and mills are expected to finish the season on November 23.

Plane Creek is expected to be the last to finish the season, and are heading toward a November 25 finish, with more than 83 per cent of their 1.27 million tonnes crushed.

"Weekly CCS continues to track above budget and the season-to-date CCS is currently 14.40 units," Mr Giordani said.

"Cane quality remains high and bin weights are good, despite the ongoing dry conditions."

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