The NSW sugarcane crushing season has come to end with 1.1 million tonnes of crop processed through three northern rivers mills.
The 2023 season has experienced another year of mixed emotions as the region continues to work through crop recovery and decreased sugar supply.
While the lengthy dry period made for ideal harvesting conditions and encouraged higher than average CCS (sugar content) across all areas, it also hampered planting.
The dry did delay planting of new crops for some growers keen to boost their production area and take advantage of the record high prices on offer. Recent rain, however, has provided a promising injection of moisture for both the ratoon crops and new plantings.
Sunshine Sugar CEO Mr Chris Connors said, "The positive outlook for sugar prices is playing a key role in sustaining the NSW sugar industry as it continues to rebuild from the flood events of 2022."
"Whilst the 2023 season was a short one, we were prepared for it and had put measures in place to safeguard and support our growers and our business. We did this by supplementing our raw sugar stocks with supply from Queensland to maintain production in our refinery, which in turn has enabled us to maintain sales to our domestic customers."
Looking ahead, more crops are coming online as growers replant, and in some cases, expand their cropping area. As such, the three local sugar mills expect to see a much longer season next year as these new crops come online.
The NSW sugar industry has a track record spanning more than 150 years. The resilience demonstrated by local sugarcane growers and the industry as a whole continues to resonate across the Northern Rivers as increased production and higher prices see the industry go from strength to strength and demonstrate its ongoing capacity to generate jobs and income into the future.
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