AT THE time of writing this column the curse of bad weather had descended again upon the Queensland sugar industry.
Unprecedented July rainfall has not only brought local mills to a halt, but has thrown a huge spanner in the works of our aspirations to maximise the returns from this year's crop.
On top of that we will have difficulties completing our planting programs for this season, not to mention the damage inflicted on recently planted cane.
At the end of the day there is little we can do about the weather.
We can only hope that it fines up quickly and we receive an extended period of fine weather to give us any chance of removing this year's crop.
In other news, the Sugar Poll has been announced.
In early August all cane growers and sugar mills will vote to bring about major changes to the research and development (R&D) sector of the Australian sugar industry.
I strongly urge all growers to vote in this important poll.
Every vote will be critical, because the numbers of growers voting will be in many respects just as important as the level of support for the changes proposed.
The reform package has been unanimously endorsed by the boards of Canegrowers and the Australian Sugar Milling Council.
It is our view that among the many benefits there are three major benefits that this reform will deliver.
First, it will lead to sustainable funding of our R&D sector.
Without any structural change, our current R&D format is approaching unsustainable funding levels.
Second, the proposed restructure introduces a Commonwealth statutory levy to fund our R&D effort.
A statutory levy makes all growers and all mills pay on an equal basis to fund our R&D sector.
Everyone benefits from R&D, so it follows that all growers and millers should pay to fund our R&D sector.
Third, the reforms bring all of our R&D agencies into a single organisation.
Having a single organisation with a single vision and a single set of research priorities makes good sense.
Housing our R&D effort under one roof has long been advocated by many in the industry.
Growers will, in the next few weeks, receive a lot of information about R&D reform.
I ask growers to consider this information carefully and support these changes.