Wilmar's two sugar mills have both had their crushing start date pushed back.
Wilmar's two sugar mills have both had their crushing start date pushed back. Lee Constable

UPDATE: Rainfall delays crushing at four of five sugar mills

UPDATE Tuesday 12pm: THE start of Wilmar's crushing season is now likely to begin on Thursday, at the earliest, for the Plane Creek Mill, while Proserpine's Mill won't begin until at least Monday.

Both the Wilmar sugar mills were scheduled to begin crushing today, but were delayed by wet weather.

The rain also halted crushing at Mackay Sugar Mills.

Manager Cane Supply and Logistics Craig Bentley said Racecourse and Marian Mills will cease crushing later today, with a "restart dependent on weather and available cane supply".

 All available cane will be transferred to Farleigh while Racecourse and Marian "take the opportunity to carry out some maintenance".

 

EARLIER: WET weather has delayed the start of the 2016 crush for Wilmar's sugar mills at Plane Creek and Proserpine.

Both the mills were scheduled to begin crushing tomorrow, but grower relations and cane supply general manager Paul Giordani said the grounds were too wet for harvesting to begin.

He said the situation would be reviewed again tomorrow, in consultation with growers and harvesting contractors, and hoped both mills would be able to start crushing later this week.

Canegrowers chairman and Plane Creek area grower Kevin Borg said although his region hadn't had much rain, there was a risk a downpour could see the mill get started but harvesters unable to continue supply.

"The mill needs a fair quantity of cane to make it worthwhile starting up," Mr Borg said.

"We don't want to get stuck with a little bit of cane in bins, but not enough to fire the mill up."

But he also said a wet August had been predicted by some forecasters, and growers had been advised to get "as much as they could done early".

"I've heard we need to get into it, with the El Niño reducing and the La Niña coming up. That suggests we need to ramp up before a wet August," Mr Borg said.

"(So the start delay) is a little concerning."

Plane Creek was expected to harvest 1.31 million tonnes of cane this year, slightly more than last years 1.28 million.

Proserpine expected to crush 1.71 million tonnes, also slightly up from 1.67 million tonnes last year.



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