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Nordzucker Post 01/2023 - 6 February 2023

Very long processing of cane – Mackay Sugar ends crush 2022/23

The crush 2022/23, the processing of sugar cane, ended at Farleigh, Racecourse and Marian on 13 January 2023. Mackay Sugar looks back on a season that was more challenging than expected. Despite all the difficulties in the past crush, the management of Mackay Sugar Ltd (MSL) is optimistic and praises the tireless efforts of the staff.

The decision to end the crush was made in light of the heavy rainfall the region has been dealing with since the beginning of the year. 1000 litres per square metre in a few days (roughly equivalent to two years’ rainfall in some beet areas) flooded part of the sugar cane fields and washed out the tracks, making it impossible to harvest and transport the cane. Overall, the crush took longer than originally planned. 

Intermittent rains and problems in production led to delays in processing, and a higher-than-forecasted crop yield further extended the crush. In total, a good 5.5 million tonnes of cane were harvested and processed in a period of 31 weeks, which is about 94 per cent of the total amount of sugar cane in the field. Not only raw sugar was produced, but also electricity for the mills from the bagasse. In addition, a good 90,000 MWh of electricity (annual demand of about 30,000 households with three persons) was fed into the national grid.  

Carl Morton, General Manager Operations at Mackay Sugar, is proud of the performance of his employees: “We have really dedicated colleagues who have worked tirelessly to be able to process as much cane as possible. They will also put in overtime during the maintenance season to ensure we can re-commission and start the crush 2023 on time.”

Last autumn, the Nordzucker Executive Board visited MSL’s Australian sugar mills together with Michael Gerloff, Head of Business Unit Cane Sugar, and some members of the Supervisory Board. In addition to discussions with the employees in the mills, there were also talks with farmers. The visitors were deeply impressed by the development in the mills and the commitment of the employees. On the agricultural side, discussions also took place with motivated and dynamic cane growers.

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