UNDER WAY: Cane harvesting is now happening across the Pioneer Valley

Wilmar reaches milestone despite wet weather delays

WILMAR has reached a milestone in its 2020 crush with more than a quarter of the estimated 15.07 million tonne crop for the season completed.

Wet weather has delayed the start dates for most of the company's milling regions, and rain put the brakes on crushing operations late last month, but 3.93 million tonnes has been processed across the eight mills to date.

"With more rain forecast for Friday, our focus is on maximising cane supply and crushing operations as weather permits," general manager cane supply and grower relations Paul Giordani said.

Proserpine has processed 363,000 tonnes this season, or 22 per cent of the 1.62 million tonne crop, with cane supply picking up as field conditions dry out.

"With more rain predicted this week, we postponed Wednesday's planned maintenance stop in order to maximise harvesting and crushing opportunities," Mr Giordani said.

The 2020 crush season has been delayed by wet weather but has reached a milestone for Wilmar mills. Picture: CAMERON BATES
The 2020 crush season has been delayed by wet weather but has reached a milestone for Wilmar mills. Picture: CAMERON BATES

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He said factory operations were stopped at Plane Creek on Wednesday for planned cleaning and maintenance which allowed crews to reinstate the shredder master turbine gearbox.

The mill has processed 332,000 tonnes, or 26 per cent, of the estimated total of 1.25 million tonnes.

"There has been a welcome spike in CCS levels over the past fortnight," Mr Giordani said.

"CCS is now tracking much closer to forecast.

"We've also seen welcome improvements in yield and the Plane Creek crop is cutting closer to estimate."

The Herbert and Burdekin regions were also hit with wet weather delays but have reported to be back on track or rising steadily.

Herbert processed 993,000 to date, or 24 per cent of the 4.16 million tonnes estimate, while the Burdekin has processed 2.25 million tonnes, or 28 per cent of the 8.04 million total crop.