Flood debris from last year's devastating inundation continues to cause damage to harvesting equipment as two year old sugar cane is cut from Northern Rivers' paddocks.
The NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative has written to councils calling on support for farmers who must continue to truck garbage from their fields to landfill at their own cost.
Meanwhile harvesting crews are wrestling with gas bottles and wheel rims stuck between rollers, with crews forced to clear the jam with an oxy-acetylene torch.
If there's an upside it is the current record high cane price of $45 a tonne but yield is well back due to dry weather, with flood damaged Broadwater sugar mill on the Richmond River predicted to process just one third of its record volume and Harwood Mill on the Clarence River back by as much as half.
"We've got the price but no crop," said Robert Carr, chairman of the Clarence Sugar Cane Harvesting Co-operative.
NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative director John Harbison said domestic demand for NSW Sugar was unsurpassed and looked strong beyond next year with Woolworths, Aldi and Metcash (IGA) the big consumers, along with Cadbury and Schweppes.