Australia’s sugarcane crushing season has commenced, led by Mackay Sugar’s Mossman Mill on 11 May, which is expected to process around one million tonnes this season.

According to the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC), a sugarcane harvest in the order of 33.75 million tonnes is expected in Australia this season. If achieved, this will represent an increase of more than one million tonnes above last year’s crop.

This season, approximately 250,000 tonnes of Mackay Sugar contracted Tablelands cane will be transported to MSF Sugar’s Tableland Mill for crushing as opposed to Mackay Sugar’s Mossman Mill as a result of the recent tolling agreement between the two mills.

Mackay Sugar’s Mossman Mill General Manager Haydn Slattery said despite the shorter maintenance season length, which was due to last year’s extended crush, the mill was well prepared.

“During the maintenance season, the mill underwent a major works program to address operational issues from the 2014 season, including the replacement of boiler tubes and a boiler fan, modifications to the tippler station, and general milling station maintenance,” Mr Slattery said.

Queensland and New South Wales sugar cane harvest outlook

Queensland’s far northern region from Tully to Mossman is expecting the best crop in ten years with approximately seven million tonnes of cane to be harvested.

The Herbert and Burdekin region is expecting a crop of the same order as last year with 12.3 million tonnes forecast, tempered by dry conditions and yellow canopy syndrome.

The Mackay and Central Queensland region expects a lower than average forecast of 8.1 million tonnes available due to the limited wet season.

The Southern region covering Bundaberg south to Rocky Point Mill has fared better in terms of rainfall with a crop of about 4.25 million tonnes expected.

Completing the outlook for Australia is New South Wales where an improved season has contributed to the promise of a crop in excess of two million tonnes, which would be their best harvest since 2007.