Crushing season gets under way in Bundaberg
THE region's canegrowers were optimistic as the crushing season began in earnest this week.
Isis Canegrowers chairman Joe Russo said growers across the district were ready to roll with an expected tonnage of 1.3 million to be crushed.
"We are expecting a much-improved crop from last year," he said.
"Obviously we'd like to see it higher but that's the best we have at this point of time."
Mr Russo said while growers were optimistic about crushing amounts the same could not be said of the sugar price.
Isis Central Sugar Mill CEO John Gorringe said the sugar price at the moment was below $400 a tonne.
"That is below the cost of production in every major producing country in the world, so we are not on our own here," Mr Gorringe said.
"It is forecast to rise later in the year but it will have impact on the price for this current season." Mr Russo said the biggest cloud that hovered over the industry was electricity prices.
"It's limiting the potential of the district and the industry," he said.
"I'm fortunate that we didn't have to irrigate much this year but going forward it is the biggest concern for the industry."
Mr Russo said growers were not standing idly by waiting for the State Government to intervene with everyone searching for energy-saving measures.
"We are pro-actively looking at pump units and doing audits on pumps to look at efficiency gains," he said.
"We are finding some very good results given most of the installations were done in the 1990s.
"The pumps are not up to modern technology so we look at opportunities for growers with a minimum amount of money to do things on their own farms."
The start of the crushing season also meant the familiar site of cane trains across the region and Mr Goring urged the community to be vigilant.
"We spend a lot of time and money working on our safety," he said.
"We are over 500 days at the mill without a lifetime injury, which is very good."
"These trains take a long time to slow down so be careful."