Growers expect better crop next year

Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Alan Dingle is looking forward to a bumper crop next year as the 2011 crush comes to a close.
Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Alan Dingle is looking forward to a bumper crop next year as the 2011 crush comes to a close. Max Fleet

AS THE end of the crush approaches canegrowers in the Bundaberg region are looking ahead to a better result next year.

Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Alan Dingle said at this stage the season was expected to wrap up at Bingera by October 17 and Millaquin by October 23.

But he said the final result was expected to be 1.4 million tonnes, down from an estimated 1.5 million tonnes.

However, because of the poor spring plant last year, the overall shortfall was probably closer to 200,000 tonnes.

"We had excessive wet weather last year, which led to a late finish to the crush," he said.

"Because of all the rain, people didn't complete their spring plant."

But growers look like putting the disappointing season behind them and are planning for a bumper crop next year.

Mr Dingle said the weather had been better for the plant this year and everyone in the district had a good spring.

He said planting this year in the Bundaberg mill area was encouraging.

According to estimates, 5038ha had been planted to cane this year.

Apart from 2009, when 5326ha was planted, that figure is well up on the past six years.

But Mr Dingle said while there was a far better outlook for 2012, the weather would still play a big part in the final result.

He said the dry weather of the past few weeks had been good for harvesting, but "not real flash" for the planting.

"It would be good if the weather held off for another two weeks to give us the chance to finish the crush," he said.

"The spring planting is all finished, which gives the cane an extra six weeks growth."

Mr Dingle said while the prediction was for another wet summer, it was not expected to be as wet as last year.

He said the sugar price was holding up well.

"You can still forward price to 2014 and get $500 a tonne," he said.

"That's still reasonable in anyone's terms."

Topics:  crush sugar cane

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