Local cane mills ready to fire up
THE chairman of Sunshine Sugar reckons that cane is still the best crop that can be grown on a flood-plain.
"It's the most reliable, and it's been proven for 120 years," Jim Sneesby said.
And as fires start to light up the horizon, the sugar season will begin at the Harwood Mill from June 10, and it's all hands on deck for the start.
"The growers are in preparation getting their equipment ready, and the mill is getting their maintenance program together," Mr Sneesby said.
"There'll about 550,000 tonnes of cane processed at the Harwood mill."
Mr Sneesby said after the drought of the past few years, good rainfall had meant that the crops looked good.
"It's been a fairly good growing season; it's really heartening to see," he said.
"Unfortunately we have a pressure from horticulture - it's getting harder and harder to maintain with overseas interests buying land at exorbitant prices.
"But it's still the best crop to grow on the flood-plain."
All three sugarcane growing areas will see the fleet of new Mercedes Benz trucks hauling cane from farms to the factories. These new trucks not only deliver performance, reliability and fuel economy benefits, but they come with a range of state-of-the-art environmental and safety features.
Safety features include adaptive cruise control and an automated emergency brake feature, which can automatically initiate braking for pedestrians, as well as lane-keeping assistance and fatigue alert.
"As the areas in which we grow sugarcane have become more populated, it is imperative we balance running costs and community safety"; said Sunshine Sugar CEO, Chris Connors.
The start of the season has coincided with the state-of-the-art $9m warehouse at the Harwood Mill and Refinery which was opened by MP Kevin Hogan last week.
Mr Connors said the modern facility has already proven itself to be a tremendous asset during a recent surge in product demand with many people staying home and doing more baking.
Mr Connors said that as an essential agriculture and food business, Sunshine Sugar had been operating with strict hygiene measures in place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.
"The procedures we have put in place have allowed us to maintain full production in our refinery to keep up with a spike in consumer demand," he said.
"These procedures will remain in place, and flow through to the broader harvesting and milling operations."
The northernmost sugar mill at Condong on the Tweed will commence on June 9, with the Broadwater sugar mill on the Richmond beginning on June 22.