Crushing is under way. Sunday 20th June saw most harvesting operations setting out on their shakedown runs with trucks on the roads around Maryborough and papers printing photos of mills puffing a bit of trial run smoke.
Rainfall has been well below average for May and June, at one tenth of the average! This has allowed much of the water-logged ground to pick up a little. In fact we have irrigated continuosly from mid-May to mid-June and then only stopped to make ready for the harvest. When the Sunshine Coast has a few millimetres it must have been a dry session.
2010 Water Allocations are 100 percent, thanks to a wet summer, so July will be a busy month for irrigation equipment maintenance. The reasoning behind this is, from looking at the records, the last dry May – June preceded the 1982 drought.
Arrowing of some varieties has growers wondering when to cut these varieties. It has been many years since such prolific arrowing has occurred in the region and so management issues will need to be revisited.
The Irrigation water pricing policy debate has gone quiet, but will reappear with the next phase of the QCA enquiry.
Producer pricing has been brought forward with mills actively encouraging growers to become involved in some form of ‘owner-driver’ pricing.
Photo of Gary Walk’s (not pictured) two row planter. He and his crew built it out of single row units. 41 acres a day!
Used mostly to plant Bundy Sugar farms.
Connor O’Malley, an Irish visitor worker was having a look at it. He thought it looked much better than a wholestick planter!
Bundy Sugar and ISIS Cane Services have struck a deal to swap cane tonnage from their respective areas to reduce transport costs. Cane grown on ISIS Cane Services land and cane growing on Bundy Sugar land is being sent to the nearest mill. Individual growers are not involved. The deal is between corporations. Rightly or wrongly, sentiment is still strong with individual growers as to who crushes their cane, so none of the 40,000 tonnes is from privately grown farms. Cane from the Bullyard area, north of Bundaberg is going to Bundy Sugar on rail and cane in the Farnsfield area south of Bundaberg is going to ISIS Mill on rail. Road transport is therefore reduced. Comical if it hadn’t cost us all so much!
ISIS Board structure has changed again. Mark Hochen has ben elected Independent Chairman of the Board. From a farmers point of view this could be seen as a loss of the ability of farmers to run their own business. Historically this owner operator system is what has kept the ISIS Mill alive. Modern times may have created an environment where farmers no longer have the skill/ability/education to manage a sugar mill. Time will tell!
Got to go, bins are not self-filling!
Southern Qld Director