New Year’s Resolutions
It’s that time of the year again when, after indulging over the Christmas period, we promise to do things differently in the year ahead - eat a little better, drink a little less, get a little healthier.
Queensland’s sugarcane farmers are also starting the new year hoping that their industry can be better in 2023.
The 2022 season has been one of the toughest and most frustrating in recent years, and for some growers, it’s not over yet.
As of 10 January, at least three sugar mills were still crushing cane, more than a month after the usual finish date.
Where mills have finished crushing, cane is often left unharvested, costing growers in lost income.
It’s true that the unprecedented length of this season is partly due to wet weather and the resulting larger than expected crop.
But the fact is, poor mill reliability has played a huge part in the season dragging out so long.
The late start in many areas, frequent mill break-downs, and poor logistical management have caused delays across the industry.
Too often this has been coupled with poor communication from mills to growers, which has been a cause of frustration for many.
The sugar industry is hugely important to regional Queensland and is the lifeblood of many of our regional towns and cities.
Growers are playing their part to ensure we have a strong and vibrant industry for many years to come.
The harvesting sector is also doing an amazing job, often under difficult conditions, while struggling with a shortage of skilled workers.
But growers and harvest contractors can’t carry the industry alone. It doesn’t matter how much cane we grow or harvest, if we don’t have the capacity to crush that cane efficiently the industry will continue to suffer.
We have a great opportunity to be an important part of Queensland’s burgeoning bioeconomy. But to do this we need the mills to be at the cutting edge of technology.
Due to the extended season, mills now have a much shorter window to carry out all the necessary maintenance and capital works required for a successful crush in 2023.
We need as many skilled people as possible to work in the mills to get this task done, as time is closing in on the 2023 crush.
The mills have resolved to pull out all the stops to make sure the necessary work is completed and we do not have a repeat of poor performance witnessed in 2022.
I urge them to stick to this New Year’s Resolution, for the benefit of growers, our regional communities, the Queensland economy, and of course, the milling sector itself.
Happy New Year to all readers. I hope 2023 is a safe and prosperous year for all.