Improved sugar crush expected despite flood and drought

MARYBOROUGH Sugar Factory is aiming to crush 600,000 tonnes this season, a target that cane supply superintendent Peter Downs says far exceeds initial expectations after a cane-growing season affected by both drought and flood.

In May, Maryborough Sugar Factory general manager Stewart Norton predicted the factory was facing its worst crush in almost two decades, with an expectation of 560,000 tonnes, down from last year's 665,200 tonnes.

However, as at October 23, the factory had crushed 515,297 tonnes and the mill was on track to harvest about 600,000 tonnes of cane by the end of the first week of November.

Mr Downs said the dry period throughout the Fraser Coast in the past few weeks was affecting the crush and growers were hoping for a few inches of rain in coming weeks.

He said while there was less cane being crushed this year, the sugar content in the cane was above average, compensating growers slightly for the shortfall in the crop this year.

The numbers

  • 2013: 116 growers, 600,000 tonnes crush estimate
  • 2012: 118 growers, 665,200 tonnes crushed
  • 2011: 119 growers, 669,600 tonnes crushed
  • 2010: 118 growers, 575,000 tonnes crushed
  • 2009: 120 growers, 687,400 tonnes crushed