The Maryborough farmers have had and are having a better run this year, but there have been some very unusual rainfall events as well as clear skies and good growing conditions.
As a result, some plant cane blocks have been lost due to the timing of these rainfall events. Harvesting has been either good or stopped rather than the continuous nibbling of last year.
Isis Cane Services continues to expand its cane plantations and this of course promotes mill viability. Farmers’ operations are unaffected by the ICS operations, so it is hoped that this effort will works toward a more secure future.
ISIS central hosted suppliers and invited guests on a Mill tour, followed by a rib-fillet BBQ. Local service clubs, Rotary and Lions, catered and ISIS has been generous in assisting these Service Clubs to finance some of their projects. The 300 plus satisfied guests must be proof of the good intentions!Isis Mill crushed 1,223,135 tonnes for a CCS of 13.40.
Bundaberg farmers had a little bit of a bumpy ride with Millaquin mill taking some time to settle all the upgrades into smooth operation. Bingera Mill held the end up though and all-in-all, a decreasing tonnage saw the Bundy Sugar Mills finish a little earlier than farmers and millers would have preferred. Bundaberg Sugar crushed 1.395 million tonnes at a CCS of 13.88.
Good planting conditions have seen excellent strikes and next year already has much greater potential. Warmer conditions have seen ratoons get away at last. The dull days earlier and the occasional severe frosts kept soil temperatures down under the trash blankets. Bundy Sugar is still acquiring land and is also looking for contractors to work it. Perhaps a consideration for some farmers with spare capacity!
Productivity Boards and Extension Services are much in discussion across the region and by 2012 the system will either be left as it is to carry on the work as current; or if the proposed changes are implemented at the Prod Board’s 2011 AGM, something of a different animal will be about this time next year. This could be a reflection of possible changes at state level R.D. & E. As at the end of harvest 2011, these proposals have to be sold to farmers who, after all, are the financial backbone of their local Productivity Board.
Small farmers are also of interest. Many people enjoy growing sugarcane as a “lifestyle thing”, outside of their regular work – policemen, engineers mine workers, on long roster cycles, to name a few. These farmers are as committed to good farming as the twenty thousand tonne property. And it’s making them a few bob. The industry should recognise these operations and assist them in grouping up for training and extension as they make a valuable contribution to the sugar industry.
With the QSL review becoming available for discussion, all farmers will be looking to the future to see how, where and when to best secure a price for their sugar.
Rocky Point crushed 267,669 tonnes for a CCS of 13.03.