Due to the volume of issues and difficulties caused by flooding and cyclone during the last season, growers have faced an extraordinary series of financial hardships leading up to and including the current season.
I continue to advocate at representative meetings with the mill, for the established guidelines for optimum season length to be used to determine the necessary improvements to the mill and the requirements for maintenance to meet those guidelines. It is unacceptable for standover crops to remain in the paddocks after a season of almost perfect weather conditions and with a May start to the crush.
I am receiving a stream of contacts from farmers, harvesting contractors and local businesses that are increasingly unhappy about the seasonal results and the likelihood of leaving cane and therefore district profits, in the paddock for another year.
In ongoing discussions with the mill, a letter from Sucrogen CEO, Ian Glasson raises an issue which I have long advocated for growers, that of the relative ccs being protected when the season is extended past the optimum harvesting season. With farmers having supplied over 100,000 tonnes of cane that has recorded under 7ccs and many more tonnes at just over that level, this issue will be one that comes back again and again to dog the industry during the remainder of the season.
While the growing sector is appreciative that the under 7ccs payment has been temporarily lifted to $8 per tonne, this figure merely provides guarantees that the mill receives their throughput and ccs requirements, the harvester contractor will be paid and nothing left for the farmer who has outlaid the input costs to grow, maintain and provide the crop and then must provide the same inputs to grow the crop for the following season. It seems there is little appreciation for the ‘hand that feeds the district’ in that equation, despite the increased mill incomes from co-generation, molasses and ethanol.
As a result, more and more canefarmers are discussing the option of ‘chop and drop’ and not supplying the remainder of their standover for this season. While mill staff has expressed their desire for the growers to continue to supply, I continue to argue that there needs to be an incentive for them to do so. A standard minimum payment to address the shortfall in their input costs and protection for their relative ccs figures would be a good start.
On the evening of 11th Aug, branch vice-Chairman, Enzo Arboit and I met to discuss the QSL review , with Darren McGowan, Director of Pacific Strategy Partners, with a view to providing input into the process.
A meeting of interested farmers gathered on the evening of 15th August to hear further information on the progress of Bio-char projects and their relevance and opportunities for local canefarmers. To discuss this issue further, contact Tom McShane on Ph: 07-47834344 to express your interest in being a part of this project locally.
The Burdekin Productivity Services held their AGM and productivity awards for the 2010 season on 16th August, with the recipients being:
|Category||Presented to||Presented by|
|Burdekin Sugar Producer of the Year||VJ Montafia
(Peter Montafia on behalf of)
|Robin Juffs – Sucrogen|
|Burdekin Highest CCS Farm of the Year||Quagliata Pty Ltd
|Margaret Menzel (ACFA) and
Phil Marano (CBL)
|Burdekin Highest Tonnes per hectare for a Plant Crop
(greater than 4ha)
|LS & JO Sibson Pty Ltd
|Don Viero (PCGO) and
Joe Quagliata (KCGO)
BPS organise these awards which recognise excellence in the Burdekin Sugar Industry and use details taken from the Sucrogen Data Cube. The Australian Cane Farmers Association is happy to support this ongoing initiative to recognise excellence in cane farming in the Burdekin district.
The Australian Agricultural College Corporation arranged a meet and greet for local industry representatives with their board and staff members in Ayr, on 18th August, to outline plans for the AACC’s immediate future.
Fortnightly meetings with Sucrogen staff and industry representatives will continue throughout the season, with a view to addressing the issues regarding season length and standover cane and the impacts that growers are faced with on an ongoing basis.
A further million tonnes of standover remains in the paddocks, with over a third of the total crop harvested to date. Approximately half of the standover cane remains in the Invicta area, with the remaining tonnage distributed amongst Inkerman, Pioneer and Kalamia mill areas.
Total Burdekin cane crushed for the season to 17 August: 3,904,583 tonnes and this week’s total: 359,655 tonnes. The ccs average for the season to date is 12.01 and the week: 14.30. The standover cane averaged 11.43 for the week and the one year cane averaged 15.48 ccs.
Q183 continues to provide the highest ccs in both standover and one year cane, together with the revised smut resistance, this variety offers growers the best option for standover cane, given performances of other varieties this season.
I wish industry participants a safe and efficient conclusion to the 2011 season, with the continuing co-operation of all involved.