Herbert region tipped to hit 4.4 million tonnes of cane
This year’s sugar cane crushing season is swiftly approaching and despite farmers facing a multitude of challenges in years gone by, the sizeable crop and current global sugar prices are giving growers hope, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said.
The most recent 2022 crop size for the Herbert region is estimated at 4.4 million tonnes of sugar cane, which exceeds last year’s 3,797,248 tonnes of cane crushed.
The Hinchinbrook MP said while farmers were relieved global sugar prices had returned to a profitable level, they were facing challenges associated with increased input costs.
“The cost of diesel and fertiliser has skyrocketed which is bittersweet as it erodes our grower’s bottom line at a time of good sugar prices,” Mr Dametto said.
“Farmer’s bills have effectively doubled to upkeep their fertilising schedule, and the rising power prices will only add further financial stress to farmers in irrigated cropping areas like the Burdekin.
“Perhaps it’s time the State and Federal Governments considered introducing agribusiness tax rebates to offset the dramatic increase in costs of production, more money in the hip pocket of primary produces means more money spent in our regional towns.”
Mr Dametto said while each season came with its own set of challenges, and while the pandemic took a hit on the industry in the last couple of years, growers, harvesting crews, and millers were resilient and would do what was needed to get the job done to make it through the upcoming season.
“Employers are struggling to fill driver, operator, and transportation positions due to a skilled labour shortage; I encourage anyone looking to try their hand at a new industry to give sugar a go.” Mr Dametto said.
“Working in the sugar cane industry can be challenging yet rewarding, and with the commencement of the 2022 season I think it’s important that we recognise and thank not only our farmers, mill workers, and transportation crew, but also their families, wives, partners, and children as well.”
The Hinchinbrook MP also issued a timely reminder on train safety, encouraging locals and visitors to always be on the lookout for cane trains during the crushing season.
“As a motorist, it pays to be extra alert around crushing season, look, listen, and stop at the signs for cane trains. Please don’t be in a hurry around cane trains, cutting off a train could cut a life short,” he said.
“If you are visiting the region, remember cane trains operate 24/7 so no matter what time it is, always be on the lookout.”
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