Joe Deickie behind the wheel of his harvester on Friday.
Joe Deickie behind the wheel of his harvester on Friday. Peter Carruthers

Start of 2016 crush brings relief

THE belly of the beast that is the Proserpine mill fired to life in the early hours of today.

After two false starts to the 2016 cane crush, the season officially got underway when the first bin was rolled out at about 12pm.

Manager of the Wilmar-owned mill, Danny van Der Berg, said things were a bit creaky during the first day of operation but it was a relief to at last get the factory up and running.

"We have really been chomping at the bit to get going," he said.

Mr Van van Der Berg said he expected it to be a wet season and he wanted to get the crush started as quickly as possible.

"The growers have done really well on the harvesters to get the cane in, in these wet conditions," he said.

One of those on a harvester at Myrtlevale on Friday was Joe Deickie.

Mr Deickie said it was good to be back behind the wheel of the harvester after rain had delayed the cutting of local cane.

"After six months away from it, the week coming into the crush you are a bit itchy to get in there," he said.

"When they put (the date) back, it was like, 'oh no'."

Although both miller, grower and harvester are relieved to start producing sugar again, the weather delays are expected to impact potential finish dates across the region.

Wilmar Sugar cane supply and grower relations general manager Paul Giordani said the Proserpine Mill was budgeted to finish crushing in early November.

"That's now more likely to be mid-November - provided there are no more significant season disruptions," he said..


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