Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

It's Been Their Worst Growers Desperately Year on Record but Now Need a Ray of Sunshine

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

It's Been Their Worst Growers Desperately Year on Record but Now Need a Ray of Sunshine

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Bastable kate.bastable@dailymercury.com.au

MACKAY'S SUGAR MILLERS

Mackay Sugar Limited is Australia's second largest sugar milling company, with an average annual turnover of more than $300million.

The company's revenue base includes raw and refined sugar, molasses and electricity.

Raw sugar, the primary product of Mackay Sugar, averages 800,000tonnes annually for both the domestic market and export distribution.

Mackay Sugar was formed as a co-operative in 1988, when five formerly independent milling co-operatives in the Pioneer Valley (Marian, Racecourse, Cattle Creek, North Eton and Farleigh mills) merged and acquired Pleystowe Mill from CSR Limited.

Sucrogen, Australia's largest sugar company, operates Plane Creek Mill at Sarina. Plane Creek Mill's maximum production is 1.7million tonnes of cane.

Proserpine Sugar Mill, which was established in 1897, processes more than 1.7million tonnes of cane in an average year. It launched a furfural plant last year.

NO-ONE will be happier than cane farmers to see the sun come out in the Mackay region.

After its worst year on record, when prolonged rain forced farmers to leave 1.4million tonnes of cane unharvested in the field, the sugar industry is relying on a stretch of sunny weather to boost livelihoods.

Mackay Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri said growers desperately needed sunshine to increase their crops' sugar content and dry their waterlogged fields before the harvest, which usually began in June.

C[pounds sterling]The rain falling now is not unusual... but it's now the cumulative impact of rain since September (that is the problem),C[yen] Mr Schembri said.

C[pounds sterling]In six months we've had double the annual rainfall in Mackay.

C[pounds sterling]We really are under the pump now Co we have a lot of planting to do. …

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