It's going to be a short crushing season for Proserpine growers.
It's going to be a short crushing season for Proserpine growers. Rory Sheavils

17-week crushing season in Proserpine

PROSERPINE canegrowers are in for a short crushing season, with Wilmar announcing it will start on July 4.

Wilmar Sugar and Proserpine grower representatives agreed on the start date on Wednesday afternoon.

Proserpine cane supply manager Ron Worth said the start date was based on a pre-season crop estimate of 1.37 million tonnes, which is significantly down on earlier estimates due to the effects of Cyclone Debbie.

"Prior to Cyclone Debbie hitting the region in late March, we estimated this year's crop to be about 1.81 million tonnes," Mr Worth said.

"The new estimate is about 430,000 tonnes down on that, which indicates Cyclone Debbie has caused crop losses of about 25% on a district-wide level."

Mr Worth said this year's start date was about two weeks later than usual due to the smaller crop and the need to complete repairs to cyclone damaged infrastructure at Proserpine Mill.

"While Debbie didn't cause any major damage to milling equipment, there was some damage to mill buildings and track infrastructure. We're working overtime to get everything repaired before the annual crush starts."

Based on the planned start date, with time allowed for wet weather, Proserpine Mill is expected to finish crushing on October 27.

"This represents a season length of 16.4 weeks, which is about four weeks shorter than the average crushing season," Mr Worth said.