Agriculture, Latest News, Sugar

Queensland sugarcane crush kicks off

Queensland’s sugar mills have produced more than two million tonnes of raw sugar this season, according to the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC).

The 2023 sugarcane crush is underway as growers, harvesting crews and mills work to cut and crush Queensland’s 30 million tonnes of cane by the end of November.

Canegrowers Tableland Chairman Claude Santucci said the weather is spectacular for harvesting.

“We had a bit of a cold snap come through a few days ago, so that will help push up the sugar content a bit, although it will be a while before we start getting decent levels,” Santucci said.

“The early cut cane from last year is looking really nice…if we can keep this weather and the mill has a good run, I’m hopeful we can have a pretty good 2023 season.”

Latest estimates put the crop at 30.55 million tonnes of cane, producing between 4 and 4.5 million tonnes of sugar, the majority of which will be exported to overseas markets in Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia.

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With the world sugar price hitting record highs and forecasters predicting a drier winter this year, growers are optimistic that 2023 could be a bumper year for the industry, CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens said.

“Last year we were pretty optimistic going into the crush, with prices on the up and a great crop in the paddock, but unfortunately things didn’t pan out the way we wanted,” Menkens said.

“Poor weather, workforce shortages, and poor mill performance in some areas combined to cause major disruptions that ultimately led to the crush running through Christmas and well into the new year in some districts, and around one million tonnes of cane left unharvested.”

Menkens said there was a very positive feeling around the industry at the minute, with the industry on the verge of a transition to a range of new and growing opportunities in the bioeconomy that rely upon sugarcane for feedstock.

“The export of raw sugar will always be the foundation of our industry, but we know there are many other complimentary opportunities that are emerging for the industry and we hope that this coming season, combined with a strong price, will provide the basis for new and increased investment into these exciting projects.”

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