Glen Isla sugar cane grower and Proserpine Cangrowers director Glenn Clarke
Glen Isla sugar cane grower and Proserpine Cangrowers director Glenn Clarke

Late rain to boost prossie sugar cane crops

RECENT rains have been both a blessing and a curse for Proserpine sugar cane growers who are preparing to start the crush season at the end of next month.

Proserpine received 75.6mm of rainfall from May 18 until May 25, drenching the region and sugar cane crops.

Proserpine Canegrowers manager Michael Porter said the rain would impact growers in two ways.

He said the 2020 crop could see a lift in size and sugar content from the late rainfall, with most growers saying they were seeing marginally better crops than last year.

However, for growers who had planted their 2021 crops in the ground the week before the deluge of rain, it could be a slow start.

"The rain was very timely and will be a big assistance to many growers," he sad.

Glenn Clarke laying underground irrigation pipes at his farm in Glen Isla.
Glenn Clarke laying underground irrigation pipes at his farm in Glen Isla.

"We're talking about a bit of a wetter winter at the moment, which could bring a bit more life to the plants, so growers will be watching the mass, weight and commercial cane sugar (CCS) levels closely.

"Growers who planted their 2021 crops in April would have been very happy with the rain, but those who planted the start of May could now be waiting and watching patiently.

"Those seeds might not have been out of the ground yet and the cold weather and rain might impact its initial growth."

Mr Porter said it was a delicate dance for growers to work between their current crops and the next year's crops, something Glen Isla sugar cane grower and Proserpine Canegrowers director Glenn Clarke agreed with.

He said the rainfall was beneficial for this season's crop and predicted a positive start of the crushing season, due to start on June 30.

"Initially, it was a little concerning with all of the coronavirus issues, but Australia was very good at flattening the curve and that means there will be almost no issues for the crush," he said.

"We work in a fair bit of isolation as it is, so it was mostly business as usual from a growing perspective - but it's great to have more confidence in the rest of the process.

"For next year's crops, the recent temperatures have been a little cold, but once it warms up again the crops will want to grow, so I don't think there will be too much of an issue.

"It should be a pretty good crush season all things considered."



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