The harvest commenced on the 16th of June with reasonable expectations and an estimate of around 551,550t.
This year’s harvest followed one of our driest years ever with only 15.5mm of rain falling throughout the entire 2009 season. 2010 was the complete opposite with 668mm of rain falling for the entire crush and one of our wettest years in a very long time.
Early yield figures were lower than estimated and it was soon evident that there was less cane then originally estimated. Considerable rain through the end of August, all September and most of October made harvesting the crop very difficult and as a consequence the mill lost around 3 weeks of harvesting.
The persistent rain also had a positive effect on the estimate with the crop continuing to grow with increased sucker growth. Cutting in the muddy conditions and with the increased suckering had a dramatic effect on CCS with the mill struggling to reach double digits in the final weeks. In the end, the final harvest figure was 539,569t with an average of 75.2t/ha. The total area harvested for 2010 was 7,166ha with an average CCS of 11.65. The total area under cane for the 2010 season totalled 7,171ha.
This year there was an increased planting program started, but the wet weather limited the area planted and will have a major effect on the outcome of this planted cane. It is estimated around 1,000ha of re-plant and plant cane was planted for the 2011 crop.
There was approximately 400 – 500t of the 2010 crop that was not sent to the mill for processing. This unharvestable cane was in very small amounts near drains or springs, spread throughout the district but mainly in the north.
The season finished on Saturday 13th of November with a final figure that was 97.8% of the original estimate.
At the time of this report all the early plant cane is looking good and the re-plant is a concern with the continuing rain and water-logging affecting growth. Most farmers have made a major effort to increase their productivity for the 2011 season, and the weather will be the major factor for all concerned. Most farmers are still keeping their farms clean from weeds and rodents.
Northern Region Director