The Harvest: Dry and therefore near perfect conditions across the region with CCS levels rising up into the 14’s, especially on the north side of Bundaberg. Steve and Shirley Svennson have been using tracked harvesting to bring in standover from wet black soil and the cream is high sugar content. This makes all the effort and expense of bringing tracked gear into their operation, worthwhile.
On the subject of tracks, we have discovered a bent track frame is causing a track to run off. A replacement is on its way from the Burdekin. We are losing days upon days while the machine is out of service. Ah, obviously insufficient off season maintainence you say, Well, here is the plausible explanation. During last season’s wet finish, we traded the use of this track machine for haul out assistance for a local harvesting contractor. In the wet, the old girl was so impressive we traded up to it for this year. Now this season so far has been dry and this, as a lot of you will know, is tough on tracks. So we have had a failure. Eventually we have tracked the problem down to a bent track frame. Downtime! What do the three farmers whose cane we are cutting think of this. Not impressed! What can we do? Keep working! Be open and honest with the our customers, that is our farmers and mill field staff. I have never before been in this situation and have learned a lesson in humility!
I am able to report; cooperation is alive and well within the industry and farmers, contractors and mills can work together. If the small scale of our operation can be magnified to industry size, we may see the industry recovering faster than predicted.
Having attended our local Fruit and Vegetable Assoc. A.G.M. as a guest, I know cooperation on many fronts is a must in our region. Irrigation water, chemical use permits, importing of directly competitive product, land tenure, coping with bureaucracy and more, are all areas where we can gain from a common fight. And fight is what local MLA , Rob Messenger has tonnes of. His constructive advice in how to cope with Public Services Officers was enlightening. At least he did not call “revolution”! He did give us a clear idea of what is proper and legal when conducting business with all levels of the public service. Practical advice and just make the system work.