THE forecast is sunny for the rest of the week but it might be too late for farmers who still have cane standing in the paddock.
Canegrowers and Mackay Sugar had been expected to meet today to discuss the ongoing viability of crushing at Marian, the last mill operating, as long as weather conditions didn't deteriorate further.
But that was before the region was soaked by 20mm of rain overnight Monday, and in some areas falls of up to 100mm. Wet weather is a headache for growers. It lowers sugar content and harvesting in wet fields is difficult.
Pleystowe grower Charlie Galea said he needed four days of sunshine before his fields would be dry enough to harvest his remaining 1000 tonnes of cane.
But even if that did happen he won't be harvesting, because the crushing season has gone on too long and the sugar content is too low to be profitable.
He said he'd tested his remaining cane, about eight per cent of his crop, and found the recoverable sugar content was less than 6.4 per cent.
At this stage of the crush, Mackay Sugar doesn't pay growers for cane with a sugar content of less than seven per cent.
"I'll hope I get more for it next season,” Mr Galea said.
Marian Mill is the only one of Mackay Sugar's three mills still operating, but it needs 120,000 tonnes a day to turn a profit and as more growers stop harvesting it will have to stop crushing .
If the decision is made to shut down the mill today it would be the second consecutive year Mackay cane is left in the field.
Pleystowe grower Kevin Zarb has cut out this year and said he was one of the "lucky ones”. He started the season with 1200 tonnes of standover, which produced a sugar content of 7.5 per cent when crushed this year, well below his minimum of 11 for this year's crop.
via Mackay Daily Mercury http://ift.tt/2jrOb9f
December 6, 2017 at 10:03AM
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