Rain puts dampener on harvest
HARVESTERS are cutting their way through cane fields and the stacks of the mill are billowing with steam once more - the 2015 cane crushing season has begun.
Wilmar Sugar operations general manager Mike McLeod said while recent rain had restricted harvesting in many parts of the district, there was still sufficient cane supply to begin the crush.
The first billets of cane were crushed at about 3pm yesterday.
"Only about half of the district's harvesting contractors are operating, predominantly in southern and western parts of the district, which have received less rain," Mr McLeod said.
"Given current ground conditions, we don't expect the mill to achieve full cane supply before early next week."
Out at Lethebrook on Monday morning, Hinschen Harvesting's David Hinschen began cutting his first field of cane for the season.
Mr Hinschen said despite being in one of the district's driest areas, things were still "a bit sticky".
The Proserpine Mill is expected to crush about 1.76 million tonnes of cane this year.
Mr McLeod said based on the current crop estimate and allowing for some in-season wet weather, crushing should be finalised in mid-November.
Now the crushing season is under way, residents are warned cane trains will be on the move at all hours of the day and night.
Motorists are urged to approach cane railway crossings with caution, obey all signs and signals and always give way to oncoming trains.