North Coast

The Harwood mill crushed a total of 562,886 tonnes of sugarcane. Image: Contributed.

NSW sugar season wraps up

In what has been a tumultuous year across the globe, the sugar industry in NSW has successfully manoeuvred its way through a crush season filled with challenges and opportunities.

Despite the many hurdles presented by the COVID pandemic, the cane growing and harvesting community of the Northern Rivers has safely and successfully completed harvesting this year’s 1.75 million tonne sugarcane crop.

The three sugar mills have maintained processing capability and delivered production of just over 200k tonnes of raw sugar in 2020.

The Condong sugar mill completed a total crush of 519,528 tonnes of sugarcane on December 1. The average CCS for the season was 11.60.

An earlier finish of November 20 at the Broadwater sugar mill saw 661,615 tonnes crushed with a season average 12.20 CCS.

At Harwood, the mill crushed a total of 562,886 tonnes of sugarcane with a season average 11.87 CCS. Crushing concluded on December 3.

Although COVID conditions negatively impacted sales volumes and operating costs, NSW cane growers will still receive a price advantage over their Queensland counterparts. This is thanks to a focused sales and marketing effort to maintain margins, financial gains made through a managed hedging program and positive returns beginning to be realised through Sunshine Sugars diversification projects.

The introduction of the Mercedes Benz fleet over the past 18 months for cane haulage has contributed to the bottom line by delivering efficiency gains and cost savings in the transport department.

With the news of mill closures at Maryborough and Bingera, it is clear that the sugar industry is doing it tough.

Sunshine Sugar CEO, Mr Chris Connors says: “Whilst 2020 has been a difficult time for businesses and communities alike, the local sugar industry has achieved some positive outcomes in pricing and cost savings. With the recent unrest in the Queensland industry, we need to remain positive and focused on our core objective of keeping our industry and our growers here in NSW sustainable.”

Sunshine Sugar CEO, Mr Chris Connors. Image: Contributed.