NSW sugar industry crush continues in spite of floods
The NSW sugar industry is set to continue with its annual crushing season despite still being in recovery from the devastating autumnal floods that caused damage to crops and mills.
Sunshine Sugar’s three mills in NSW will begin their crushing season this winter, with the Harwood and Condong mills spinning up on the 15 and 20 June respectively and the Broadwater mill beginning operation in early August. The dates of production are dependent on the weather in the Northern Rivers region of the state.
The exact amount of sugarcane that will be processed is still unknown but due to flooding is expected to be somewhere below 1.5 million tonnes. While growers are still dealing with wet conditions, the price of cane for the season is due to be between $40 and $45 per tonne, depending on the crops’ commercial cane sugar levels. This price is fairly high and will help struggling cane growers.
“The increased cane price will be very welcome as our growers not only recover their lost and damaged crops but do so in a time of increasing costs for inputs such as fertiliser and fuel,” said Jim Sneesby, who is Sunshine Sugar’s chairman and a grower himself.
The start of crush comes as raw sugar stocks that supply Sunshine Sugar’s Harwood Refinery are almost entirely exhausted, alongside a strong sales program for customer orders to be fulfilled across Australia.
Sunshine Sugar CEO Chris Connors said that although the state’s sugar industry was facing challenges, it would remain strong.
“There are plenty of challenges still ahead for both our growers and the sugar mills as we continue to recover from the catastrophic flooding events of March, April and May across our region; but the flood plains of these three big rivers have been the lifeblood of sugar production in NSW for over 150 years. We will move on from the setbacks and continue to build on an already resilient and important local industry.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the ongoing work to repair and restore our mills and refinery. Without the commitment of our employees and the support of our contractors, we would not be in a position to announce the start of the new crush season with the level of confidence we have.”
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