Wilmar sugar have celebrated reaching the half way point for the 2021 cane crush, despite lengthy rain delays slowing down harvest in recent weeks.
As of the end of August, their factories had collectively processed 7.44 million tonnes of cane, which amounted to 50 per cent of the estimated 14.88 million tonne crop.
Widespread rain throughout the Burdekin, Proserpine and Plane Creek regions in recent weeks had brought harvesting to a standstill, forcing many mills to shut down in the interim.
Regular rain impacting harvest in the Herbert region had resulted in reduced throughputs and below budget CCS (Commercial Cane Sugar). The mills to date have processed 1.65 million tonnes of sugar, to record a CCS of 12.7.
The Burdekin mills have processed 56 per cent of the total crop, with 4.47 million tonnes crushed and a CCS of 15.2.
The Proserpine factories have processed 48pc of their total crop, and recorded a CCS of 14.94. Recent overnight falls in the area had been well regarded by producers as good 'top up' rain, despite it affecting harvesting and crushing operations.
Plane Creek has crushed 645,000 tonnes to date, and recorded a CCS of 14.94.
Wilmar sugar have used the forced downtime to do chemical cleans and maintenance work across their mills.
According to Canegrowers Chairman Paul Schembri, there had been quite a mixed bag of weather this season for Queensland cane producers.
"The southern regions have been dry around Bundaberg, Isis and Maryborough, whereas from Mackay north it has been generally wetter than we would have wanted it to be," he said.
"We're about 40-50pc crushed in the state, so we're at a critical stage now and the last thing we would need is too much rain now which would be disruptive to the harvest."
Mr Schembri has around 250 hectares of land under cane production north of Mackay, which generally turns off between 9000- 10,000 tonnes of cane per year.
"We had a good growing season, with a good crop. It's a race against the clock now to get the rest off and it all depends now on the weather," he said.
"From our perspective in Mackay we've got one of the better crops we've had in recent years. The yield is up, above 80 tonnes of cane to the ha, and the Sugar Content is quite strong, it's been around 13.5- 14 units which is good.
"We just really need a good period of fine weather now to get this crop in."
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