Queensland’s sugarcane crop is now tipped to reach almost 30 million tonnes (Mt) this year with the 2021 harvest and crush to start next week.
Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) Chief Executive Officer David Pietsch said they forecast Queensland sugarcane tonnage this year to be 29.96Mt, exceeding the 2020 crush of 29.33Mt which Queensland’s sugar mills manufactured into 4.1Mt of sugar.
“In February, ASMC was sceptical about the prospects for the 2021 crop to be bigger than 2020 with variable seasonal conditions, but we are now confident the crop will beat the 2020 and 2019 seasons and finish closer to 30 million tonnes,” he said.
However Mr Pietsch said it was important to note these tonnages remained well short of the Queensland milling sector’s crushing capacity of around 35 million tonnes per annum.
“The improved crop signals somewhat of a recovery in industry confidence and highlights the ongoing importance of work across the sugar industry to improve productivity and continually drive efficiency through the production chain,” he said.
“The 2021 crop forecast is good news for farmers, harvesters, transporters, suppliers, and for our sugar mill employees crushing the cane and manufacturing the sugar.
Mr Pietsch revealed the expected crop result had overcome strong headwinds and the crush would be the first in more than 125 years that neither the Bingera mill at Bundaberg or Maryborough mill would be operating.
“Like other Queensland industries and businesses, the sugar industry had had to contend with the impact of COVID-19 on its local production and global markets,” he said.
“However, the sugar industry has hung tough and our relative stability now comes at a time of great uncertainty around sugar production amongst other global producers such as Brazil, India and Thailand.”
The ASMC forecast has projected the growing regions to produce:
- 6,720,000 tonnes in Northern region (including Tableland, Mossman, Mulgrave, South Johnstone and Tully mill areas)
- 12,350,000 tonnes in Herbert-Burdekin region
- 8,240,000 tonnes in Mackay-Proserpine region
- 2,650,000 tonnes in Southern (including Bundaberg, Isis and Rocky Point mill areas)
Media contact: David Pietsch – 0408 323 632
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Sugar is Australia’s second largest export crop, after wheat, with a total annual revenue of almost $2 billion. Around 95% of sugar produced in Australia is grown in Queensland with the remainder in northern New South Wales. Australia exports more than 80% of its raw sugar to buyers overseas, placing it among the top four raw sugar exporters in the world.
ASMC is the peak body representing the interests of raw sugar manufacturers and marketers. ASMC represents five sugar manufacturing companies which collectively produce 90 percent of Australia’s raw sugar at their 16 sugar mills in Queensland.