12 June 2017
SOUTH JOHNSTONE MILL CRUSHING SEASON UNDERWAY
MSF Sugar’s South Johnstone Mill expects to crush 1,609,952 tonnes of sugarcane for the 2017 season, with operations commencing on Tuesday 13 June.
More than 250 growers will harvest cane from about 20,000 hectares in the region to supply the mill.
South Johnstone Mill Manager Kim Kendall said the weather conditions had not been unreasonably wet in recent months and he expected the crush would start on schedule, with the mill operating 24/7 crushing at an average of 545 tonnes of cane per hour.
He said while the 2017 predicted crush was lower than last season’s tonnage of 1,721,178, the 2016 crop had an impressive growing season not normally experienced in the South Johnstone region.
“The 2017 crop continues to look promising with the growth rate during April consistent with the favourable weather conditions, and plant health is excellent. The 400mm rain event experienced in the South Johnstone growing area during January has impacted some cane growth.
“Last season, while there was a record crush, more than 30 days were lost due to wet weather which impacted on season length, extremely high wear on critical plant and reliability issues with No 1 Mill.
“During the shutdown period the South Johnstone maintenance teams have worked well, focusing on critical plant and factory improvements in preparation for the 2017 season. Expectations are for a safe and efficient crush with average wet weather lost time and improved factory reliability,” Mr. Kendall said.
More than $6 million in capital improvements, predominantly using local engineering, support businesses and labour, was budgeted for 2017 on upgrades to the mill and rail infrastructure.
The key major initiatives for South Johnstone Mill included a partial retube of No.2 boiler convection bank and air heater, Tippler electrification, air compressor replacement, No 1 Mill strengthening and mill gearing shaft replacement, loco engine / transmission replacements, full upgrades to RSU’s (remote shunting units) and substantial rail network and rail / road crossing upgrades to support factory efficiency improvements for the 2017 season.
With the season now underway, motorists and pedestrians are reminded that cane trains are active throughout the region. The cane rail network operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week until the completion of harvest.
For more information please contact:
MSF Sugar Communications Manager
Mob: 0417 043 954