Local News

Cane harvest hits the mark

Geoff Helisma |


This year’s sugarcane harvest has “probably matched expectations”, says the Clarence Canegrowers Association manager Brendan Reeves.

“It went a couple of weeks longer than planned, due to some weather and mill issues during the year,” he said, “but the tonnage was slightly higher than anticipated.”

Mr Reeves said 568,000 tonnes of cane were cut in the Clarence Valley; the original estimate was for 540,000 tonnes.

He said the sugar market was “not looking too bad”.

“The price has come up slightly, so the outlook for the price this year and next year is favourable,” he said.

He said the recent heavy rain might affect some of the new cane planted in September and October.

“Initially, it was dry and we needed some rain,” he said.

“I guess 100mls would have been more favourable than three to 400mls we received.

“So now we have some issues with some of the young cane being under water.

“Once the river has gone down, some of the guys will pump the water off their farms as quick as possible.

“If the water sits around when the sun gets back out, [it can] heat up the water lying around and it can kill the plants.”

Mr Reeves said there was an expectation for “a decent crop next year”.

“Given the recovery from the dry conditions last year and the year before is behind us, and with the recent rain, a month or so of dry weather would be nice now,” he said.