As the first of 19 Queensland sugar factories begin steam trials this week, sugar manufacturers throughout the State are looking forward to a safe, successful and incident-free season.
The Australian Sugar Milling Council believes that the return to El Nino conditions is helpful and should limit the weather induced disruptions to harvesting and milling that was the case during the past two years.
The starting estimate for the Queensland sugar cane crop is 30.55 million tonnes, up by about 400,000 tonnes on the pre-season 2022 forecast but down by about 700,000 tonnes on what was eventually processed.
In 2023, sugar production is estimated to come in at between 4.0 and 4.5 million tonnes, while more than 850,000MW/h’s of renewable electricity will be generated at mills. Two sugar factories in the Northern sugarcane growing regions of the State will commence operations in the week commencing 22 May with the rest of the factories commencing from early June onwards.
The Australian Sugar Milling Council CEO, Rachele Sheard noted that last year’s extended harvesting season had significantly compressed the annual shutdown period when sugar factories undertake the majority of their maintenance and capital activity, putting pressure on costs and schedules. Sugar manufacturers across the state have invested more than $200 million of capital and maintenance including new technology introduced into sugar factories over the past five months.
“Sugar manufacturers and growers have a shared ambition for a successful harvesting and sugar manufacturing season to take full advantage of the dry start to harvesting conditions and the record high sugar prices that are available for this year’s production,” Ms Sheard said.
More than 16,000 workers are directly engaged in the sugar industry during the harvesting and sugar production season and regional communities will experience a strong boost to their economic activity on the back of a successful season.
Another positive for the industry is that the very profitable price outlook that prevails for the Australian industry is expected to bring a halt to the steady decline in area planted to sugarcane experienced in the past five seasons. This is important for all the industry but particularly so for sugar factories enabling them to maximise throughput, sugar production, and returns.
Media contact: Rachele Sheard, Chief Executive Officer, +61 408 777 898
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