Cairns region sugar mills on successful comeback
FAR Northern sugar mills have crushed more than five million tonnes of cane this season, with officials confident the industry is recovering from its post-cyclone Yasi depression.
While disappointed with the production season's output, Canegrowers Queensland believes the region's farmers have weathered the worst and can expect a more profitable return next year.
"As seasons go, it's not the best," the group's chief executive officer Steve Greenwood said. "The whole North is still recovering from the extra wet weather over the last couple of years, especially from Yasi.
"The forecast harvest at the beginning of the season was higher than what we've actually achieved."
The Australian sugar industry is tipped to crush more than 30 million tonnes by the end of this season, which is weeks away from finishing.
The output was two million more tonnes than last year and almost three million more than in 2010.
In the Far North, Tully has crushed almost 1.8 million tonnes, but cane sugar content levels were down.
Innisfail and Mulgrave mills each turned out more than 1.1 million tonnes of harvested cane.
Mossman mill closed production early in the season because of rain, producing just over 500,000 tonnes.
Mr Greenwood said the next season promised to be good for the industry, with average rains forecast over summer, strong world sugar prices expected and demand from Asian countries predicted to increase.
Farmers could hopefully recoup losses suffered following cyclone Yasi and torrential flooding in cane-growing belts over the three years.
"We're definitely heading in the right direction," he said. "We're confident of a good season next year.
"We're returning to normal weather patterns, prices are still healthy and next year there will be an increase in land under cane. There's been a lot of investment in sugar cane."
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