THE annual sugar cane harvest is finally under way on the Burdekin after wet weather delayed the season start.
Wilmar's Invicta Mill was the first of their four Burdekin mills to fire up operations for the 2020 crush, following wet weather in late May.
Wilmar's Burdekin regional operations manager Paul Turnbull said it was a smooth start to the crushing season at Invicta yesterday, with operations starting at 6am.
"We started crushing on Invicta Mill's B side at 6am yesterday and started up A side around midday," Mr Turnbull said.
"The factory has gone well since start up and cane supply is steadily increasing.
"Our other three Burdekin mills are ready to roll and our operations teams are keen to get going."
Mr Turnbull said Wilmar planned to start crushing at Kalamia tomorrow, Inkerman Mill on Sunday and Pioneer Mill on Monday.
"We originally planned to start crushing at Inkerman Mill on June 2 and at Invicta, Pioneer and Kalamia mills on June 9," he said.
"But ground conditions were too wet for harvesting and the start dates were pushed back.
"It's great to have the first of Wilmar's eight mills up and running for 2020."
Mr Turnbull said they expected to crush about 8 million tonnes of cane at their Burdekin mills this year, which was slightly up on last year's throughput.
In total, Wilmar's eight mills will process about 15 million tonnes of cane this year, with the crush expected to commence in the Herbert district next week and in Proserpine and Sarina by the end of June.
Burdekin cane supply manager John Tait reminded residents that cane trains were now on the move.
"It's really important that motorists keep a lookout for cane trains as they travel around our milling regions," Mr Tait said.
"Our cane trains can't come to a quick stop and they can't swerve.
"Our message to motorists is clear: please use your train brain and always give way to cane trains."