At the outset I would like to thank Andrew Tickle ( the Secretary of the NSW Cane Growers Council) for putting together such a comprehensive report for the last issue of “The Australian Cane Farmer” as an update on the NSW sugar cane industry.
Andrew offered to do the report as I was travelling on an SRDC Capacity building project in the USA, Mexico and Columbia during March, I will report more fully on that project in a later issue of this magazine.
NSW has had one of our better growing seasons in later years, and although the crops are not records, the tons per hectare will be up there with some of our better ones. Unfortunately we have lost like other industries to many hectares to life style and other uses.
Condong has an estimate of 530,000 tons with a start date of 21st of June.
Broadwater’s estimate is 650,000 tons and a start date of the 29th Harwood’s estimate is 630,000 tons and a start date of the end of June tentatively.
The soy bean crop on all three rivers at this stage look like giving growers a good return as well as a cheap source of Nitrogen for the coming plant crop, harvest of these crops should start about the end of April.
Smut is in NSW,it has been found in some Q205 blocks, the local pest boards are keeping a close eye on the situation, with any variety with a rating of 8-9 taken of the approved planting list for this year and into the future, we are trying to retain some of our more productive varieties that fall into the 7 category as long as possible.
We are hoping that by taking these, what may appear to be drastic steeps early and because of our lower temperatures, we will not loose productivity.
Update on the co-generation plants.
Most readers of this column would have seen the Land-line program on the 15th of March relating to the co-generation plants at Condong and Broadwater mills and the problems we are having in relations to the renewable energy certificates and state Government regulations.
On the surface, little has happened since the program went to air, although behind the scene Chris Connors, our CEO, continues to make progress on our behalf to keep the plants operating.
The sugar community globally is in fact a very small world. During my visit to Columbia last month, I had lunch with the executives of Cenicana (the BSES of Columbia) and over lunch the first question I was asked was do you know what is happening at Broadwater mill with the co-generation plant. I don’t think there are too many secrets in the sugar world.