CRUSHING operations were finalised at the Isis Mill at 8.43pm on October 28, with more than 1,164,000 tonnes processed through the mill for the 2013 season. Considering the conditions of the past 12 months, many may be surprised the 2013 season appears set to enter the record books in fifth position for the highest tonnage of cane crushed at the mill.
It was surpassed only by the years 1999, 2005, 2006 and last season's record 1,505,399 tonnes.
CCS results for the season were also pleasing, reaching 14.23 units for the season, which was slightly higher than last season's 14.11. The actual crushing season duration was just 18 weeks, with the average weekly throughput for the 2013 season about 65,000 tonnes a week.
Mill reliability continued to be very good and there were 13 consecutive weeks of throughput higher than 63,000 tonnes. Lost time at the mill was about 8% of available hours, well down on the historical average.
While it is too early to get a clear picture of the expected crop for the 2014 season, there are already a number of positive signs.
The district is fortunate to have 100% water allocations and while damage from the Australia Day floods is still being repaired, the majority of irrigation systems are functional.
Many analysts suggest the sugar price has bottomed out and we should see an upward trend for 2014 and QSL reinforced this view at the company's recent AGM in Childers.
Good germination of spring plant blocks occurred and the early finish to the season allowed growers to fertilise earlier and irrigation can be applied to grow the coming crop without impediments caused by harvesting.