Wilmar have announced that the 2021 season is well underway across all four of their milling regions with growers feeling optimistic about buoyant cane prices.

Wilmar Sugar, Australia’s largest raw sugar manufacturer, operates a total of eight mills throughout the Burdekin, Sarina, Proserpine and Herbert regions.

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri said the growing season had been variable so far, but things were looking positive.

“It’s been the most variable growing season I’ve witnessed with huge rain in the north, and drought conditions in the south, but the good news is that sugar prices are hitting $500 per tonne and we are feeling energised about our industry.”

While this is no industry record, canegrowers have welcomed the recent price rise with a renewed sense of optimism. The increase comes as world sugar prices begin to climb due to global supply issues.

This years total crop estimate for the Wilmar group is 15.29 million tonnes, slightly up on last years total throughput of 14.93 million tonnes.

The factories have currently processed about ten per cent of the total estimated crop, with the only draw backs so far being attributed to wet weather.

The Burdekin Mills were the first to kick off the season on June 8, followed closely by Plane Creek on June 15, and the Herbert on June 18, with Proserpine bringing up the tail on July 1.

The Burdekin Mills have so far processed 1.16 million tonnes of sugar cane with yield, weekly throughput and Commercial Cane Sugar all sitting above budget.

Plane Creek Mill at Sarina performed well in the first few weeks of crushing, processing 9.3 per cent of the regions total estimated crop. CCS levels are showing an encouraging upward trend.

Wet weather slowed things down for a short period of time at the Herbert mills, although things are back on track with the mills having processed 5.3 pc of the regions total estimated crop so far. CCS levels are also looking encouraging.

Proserpine finally got under way following some minor start up issues, with harvester drivers now making good tracks, receiving little impact from weather. They have processed 0.1pc of the regions total estimated crop, with CCS levels remaining comparable to the first week of the previous season.