As of 16 August, Crushing had reached 50% for most farmers in Mackay Sugar. It has dried out but there are still areas where harvesting is difficult or not possible yet because of wet field conditions. Standover is still coming in and the PRS between standover and year old cane is widening. Crushing looks as if it will conclude in early October.
Planting is well under way in the area. While, for some, harvesting conditions are wet, there is a lot of irrigation of plant cane to establish germination in the heavy clay soils. Mackay Sugar has offered a Plant Loan Scheme for growers needing assistance in getting their crop production back up. It consists of two parts. One for current production area and the other for bringing new land into production.
The issue of diuron has risen again. After farmers reducing their application rates and attending courses on application of the herbicides it still isn’t enough. Mackay AgriServ has organised a trip in November to go to North Western New South Wales. The innovation of cotton farmers in row crop farming is leading the way of using Roundup in inter-row spraying. This will give cane farmers an alternative look at herbicide application.
Mackay Sugar was unable to secure Tully Mill. In the last part of the Tully issue the news of the proposed sale of Proserpine Mill broke. A lot of people would like to see a result where Proserpine and Mackay merged into one unit. The process is been still worked through.