Cane harvest continues into the festive season
Sugarcane farming organisation CANEGROWERS is urging people travelling for Christmas to be patient as growers in a number of regions work into the festive season to get their 2016 crop cut.
“Usually most of Queensland’s sugar mills will be finished operations by now and everyone would be heading for a relaxing break,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said. “But the harvest is still underway this week in the Sarina, Mackay, Proserpine, Burdekin, Ingham, Tully and Cairns regions.
“Wet weather in the early weeks of the crush meant time in the paddock was lost and the crop kept growing, so the amount of cane needing to be crushed kept increasing.”
The Queensland sugar industry is estimated to bring in 34.6 million tonne harvest, a welcome increase on the 2015 total of 32.6 million tonnes.
A number of mills will switch their rollers off on Christmas Eve and the Herbert River district mills are expected to finish between Christmas and New Year.
The Tully, Plane Creek (Sarina) and Mackay mills along with the Inkerman mill in the Burdekin will crush into the first week of January 2017.
Harvester operators havesought exemption permits which will allow them to continue to cross and use roads through what has usually been a Christmas curfew period.
“We ask that people travelling in coastal Queensland take care as they may pass through an area where cane trains are still operating and harvesters may need to be moved.
“Please be patient as they continue with this important task – one which brings export dollars into the economy of the state and the nation,” Mr Schembri said.
Raw sugar is Queensland’s second most valuable agricultural export commodity, earning close to $2 billion each year.