Maryborough’s sugar cane crush will start late this year, albeit significantly smaller than the previous season.
The crush at MSF Sugar’s Maryborough mill is scheduled to get under way on July 24, with a predicted crush of 600,000 tonnes, well down from the previous season’s crush of 791,435 tonnes.
MSF Sugar general manager Stewart Norton said the weather conditions over the summer were disastrous for the crop and he expected sugar cane quality to have suffered from the drought conditions.
“The district had no significant rainfall from July 2016 to March 2017, a drought similar to the 2014 season,” Mr Norton said.
“Fortunately we have received useful rainfall since March and with continuing warm weather, the crop has started to grow again.”
Mr Norton said growing conditions had been anything but ideal for the 100 growers supplying Maryborough mill.
There were 26 days with temperatures higher than 35 degrees and reduced water supply also significantly affected crops.
In February both the Lower Mary Irrigation Scheme and the Fraser Coast Effluent Re-Use Irrigation Scheme were turned off due to low storage water levels.
“Despite two record droughts in four years, sugar cane growers supplying the mill remain confident and continue to expand the land area growing cane.”