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Mackay Sugar ends season, 160,000 tonnes cane left in field

MACKAY Sugar will call a halt to the 2017 crush tonight leaving about 160,000 tonnes of cane in the field.

It's the second consecutive year a substantial amount has been stood over. Last year 350,000 tonnes went uncut.

Marian Mill, the last of Mackay Sugar's three mills crushing, is no longer able to access the 12,000 tonnes a day required to remain viable because many fields are too wet to harvest after widespread rain.

On Tuesday Marian sent out enough bins to hold 7000 tonnes, Mackay Sugar general manager of cane supply and logistics Craig Bentley said, but only 1200 tonnes arrived at the mill.

More than 60,000 tonnes of cane was still in fields that weren't too wet, but Mr Bentley expected only 14,000 tonnes to be crushed at Marian before the mill closed. He estimated about 160,000 tonnes would be stood over. "We don't plan to leave cane behind but we can't crush at any cost," he said. "We are in difficult circumstances."

Harvesting contractor Ross Mackenzie said if he had been able to get the number of bins he had been promised by Mackay Sugar he would have cut out a month ago.

"It started well but halfway through it went bad, we would be missing 12 or 16 every day," he said.

"It's a shame because at the start it was good and we thought we would fly through and she just went bad," he said. Mr Bentley said Mackay Sugar had met its schedule but had experienced some frustrations.

Topics:  mackay sugar


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