Storm complicates crush

WITH this year's sugarcane crush now into its early stages, the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Ului is still hurting Whitsunday farmers.

But it's not all bad news, as ideal weather conditions have meant there have been no disruptions to early harvesting.

Up until Saturday, 75,795 tonnes of sugarcane had been crushed.

The cane content sugar (CCS) percentage was 12.83 percent.

Proserpine Cooperative Sugar Mill chief executive John Power said the estimate at the start of the season was for a total of 1.7 million tonnes to be crushed.

Mr Power said that the original estimate for the overall CCS this year was 13 percent, but that figure could be greater if the rain held off.

Operations at the mill got off to a slow start because of electrical equipment failures which cost valuable hours of production time.

Following the repair of these faults, the processing of sugar at the mill has also been slowed downed by impurities present in the cane.

These impurities are thought to have probably been caused by cyclone damage.

During March, the cyclone's Category Three winds felled trees and damaged boats and roofs.

Sugarcane crops throughout the Proserpine district also had serious wind damage.

Mr Power said he anticipated that the slower production times would continue to be a problem over the coming weeks as the better quality cane would not be harvested until later.

At the moment farmers are getting through the “plough out and replant” cane which generally consists of old or diseased plants.

Harvesters are moving briskly throughout the district to facilitate the plough out and replant procedure.

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