8 May 2017
CRUSHING SEASON MARKS AN IMPORTANT TIME OF YEAR FOR 600 FRASER COAST FAMILIES
With welcome rain visiting the Fraser Coast Region in 2017 and ideal growing conditions holding throughout the summer, MSF Sugar’s Maryborough Mill is on track to start crushing on Monday 11 June.
The on-time start date is in stark contrast with 2017, when disastrous growing conditions resulted in a delayed start date of 24 July and a subsequent early end to the crushing season.
Weather conditions are so good that sugarcane is still growing in the region and crops are standing tall in anticipation of a successful harvest.
With strong crop estimates of 940,000 tonnes, the growing community expects to see a significant improvement when compared to the 2017 season which saw only 598,942 tonnes crushed by the Mill.
General Manager Maryborough Stewart Norton said the factory had been prepared ahead of the crush to ensure a timely start and following successful steam trials early this month, growers and residents living nearby will soon be able to see the signature steam coming from the boilers.
“Normal maintenance has been undertaken during the non-crushing season and we expect a good startup this year.
“The start of crush signals an important time of year for Maryborough as with Mill operations about to commence, we are running at full capacity in our workforce, directly employing 190 people across our milling and farming activities.
Once you incorporate supply partners and growers, our operations during crush support around 600 families in the region, injecting $63 million annually back into the local economy,” he said.
From Monday 11 June the Mill will operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week until mid-November with an expected crushing rate of 300 tonnes per hour. The Mill will be supplied by 100 growers who in turn will be serviced by 24 harvesting groups.
Upgrades and maintenance projects undertaken during the off-season have been performed by employees or in partnership with local contractors wherever possible.
During off-season a number of major refurbishments took place to improve both factory efficiency and reliability, with the most significant being a $191k refurbishment of the Side Carrier Slat Conveyor and a $655k refurbishment of the No.6 Pan. In addition, recent upgrades include improvements to the main control room and the replacement of air heater tubing, with $200k invested in modifications to B Double Cane Bins to reduce cane spillage.
With overall weather conditions continuing to be favourable for growers, attention will soon turn to the all-important Commercial Cane Sugar (CCS) results, which provide an estimate of the sugar yield from cane supplied to the Mill. The most dominant sugarcane varieties for the region are Q208 and Q240.
Although the 2018 crop is shaping-up to be a good season, Mr. Norton stressed that while last season’s rain had supplemented the Mary River and Tinana Creek water storages, it did not remove the urgent need for the proposed 6,000 megalitre Glendorf Off-stream Storage adjacent to the Mary River.
“The recent increase in rainfall is a welcome relief to our region, however, the need for additional storage capacity remains a priority. We will continue to discuss the need for water security for the region with SunWater and our local representatives,” Mr. Norton said.
Image Above: The start of crush signals an important time of year for Maryborough as with Mill operations about to commence, MSF Sugar directly employs 190 people across milling and farming activities and supports around 600 families in the Fraser Coast region.
For more information please contact:
MSF Sugar Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager
Mob: 0417 043 954