The tableland crop is set for a solid harvest in 2011.The Mulgrave crop looks like a good average crop, despite the wet conditions. Further south, Babinda, Innisfail and Tully are a different story. Although the long-sodden ground may now start to get an opportunity to dry a little, early evidence of arrowing is not a welcome sign in a region which desperately needs to see some sunshine hours and time to grow on. The stand-over cane is generally not looking good.
Heavy vine infestations are prompting farmers to smash down cane in desperate attempts to spray and check the vine growth.
Cash flow is very tight so machinery has been patched up. ‘Band-Aid’ solutions are all that farmers can afford this year. Chemical sales for cane and horticulture are also way down and local businesses are feeling the pinch from the tight rein on spending.
The 2011 harvest is becoming a hot topic: cyclone debris clearing will incur additional costs and in a maximum 50-55 t/ha crop, discussions are already centring on dollar per hour harvesting. The figures bandied about are not pretty!
Cash flow has been further tightened by outgoing mill owner Bundaberg Sugar choosing to pay farmers at a lower sugar price, following the 28 March decision by mills to channel the 2010 sugar pool losses through the ‘shared pool’ and resulting in a double cut on the ‘seasonal pool’. Farmers are furious and as many are now out of contract, they are not keen to sign up under such uncertain conditions.
With the recent shuffle of mill ownership, Maryborough sugar (MSF) announced on 27 April that it has finalised the acquisition of the remaining 50% of the Northern Milling Joint Venture (NMJV) assets previously owned by Bundaberg Sugar Ltd (BSL).
MSF exercised its option to acquire BSL’s 50% participating interest in the NMJV in February 2011 for a consideration of $50 million plus settlement adjustments.
The assets acquired include South Johnstone and Tableland Mills, land holdings at Mourilyan and Babinda and associated infrastructure.
All eyes are now on Tully which has announce to its shareholders that;
Bunge has advised that it intends to lodge its Bidder’s Statement for a new takeover bid for Tully Sugar Limited; COFCO Corporation and its advisors are currently undertaking Due Diligence of Tully Sugar Limited; Mackay Sugar and its advisors are also currently undertaking Due Diligence of Tully Sugar Limited.