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La Nina a cause for concern for last third of crush

30 September 2020 | With a third of 2020’s estimated 30.9 million tonnes of sugarcane yet to be harvested and processed into raw sugar, Australia’s sugar millers are keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts.

The confirmation of a La Nina weather pattern heightens the risk of rain disrupting the final weeks of the crush.

“La Nina-influenced light rain will be manageable and welcome, but heavier falls could be challenging towards the end of the crush,” said Australian Sugar Milling Council Director of Industry and Government Affairs, Jim Crane.

“That being said, spring rain can set the foundation for an improved 2021 crop across most of the cane growing regions,” he added.

“Thanks to the unseasonal winter rains already experienced this year, we are currently on track to realise the forecast crop size of 30.9 million tonnes.”

“That’s almost a million tonnes of cane more than last year’s harvest but the sugar content is tracking below the 2019 average. A continuation of this trend will mean that 2020 raw sugar production is likely to be only slightly up on last year’s 4.28 million tonnes,” he added.

“2020 has certainly been a year of challenges to date, but business continuity planning and early development of comprehensive COVID-19 related workplace health plans have enabled sugar mills to operate, in large part, as normal.

“With many innovative adjustments, sugar milling companies have largely been able to operate with a full complement of staff throughout the pandemic, allowing us to continue to make an important economic contribution to many regional communities,” said Mr Crane.

The Queensland sugar industry generates more than $4 billion to the Queensland economy each year and supports more than 23,000 jobs throughout the State.

See here for more information on 2020 weekly crush statistics

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