Sweet Success: 2023 Crushing Season Concludes

29 November 2023

As the 2023 crushing season draws to a close across the Hebert River District, Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader Nick Dametto has praised the efforts of all involved with getting this year’s crop off in time for Christmas.

The Herbert River District mills crushed a total of 3.99 million tonnes for the 2023 season. The final CCS was 13.02 units which was 1.43 above the 2022 season average.

Last year, the crushing season ran into Christmas but the particularly dry conditions throughout the 2023 season meant minimal harvesting delays due to wet weather, meaning the crush wound up earlier than expected.

The Hinchinbrook MP said that although the bumper world sugar price and drier weather was a benefit in many ways, high input costs and the lack of rain contributed to reduced profits and lower bin weights as well as optimal conditions for an infestation of borrowing and climbing rats.

“This year’s dry crush has been something we haven’t experienced for some time in the Herbert District. Although we often hear reports of too much rain, the dry conditions this year presented farmers and harvesting crews with a different set of challenges,” Mr Dametto said.

“Most prominently has been the rat infestation that has caused an estimated $24.7 million in crop damage across the district.

“I have worked with growers and supported Herbert Cane Productivity Services Limited to raise this problem directly with the Agriculture Minister and lobbied for State Government assistance to attain the required permits to assist with baiting programs.

“In September I extended an invitation to the Minister inviting him to Ingham to see this problem firsthand in order to full grasp the challenges growers are faced with. Although the Minister is yet to take up my invitation, I will continue to advocate to the State Government for a solution.

“While most are now washing down and thinking about a well well-earned break, looking forward to 2024, next year’s crush looks promising with strong sugar prices forecast for the foreseeable future. With the right amount of rain and a bit of good luck and management, 2024 could be our best year yet.

“I hope that the early end to the season gives all the farmers, harvesting crews and mill workers a chance to enjoy a bit of time off during the Christmas break with their families and friends.

“While I’m taking the time to thank those who have contributed to the 2023 crush, it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the partners who have been holding the forts at home over the past five months. Long hours and shift work can be exhausting on the whole family, without your support, harvesting and milling a crop of this size wouldn’t be possible.

“On behalf of the Hinchinbrook electorate, I would like to thank and say well done to all involved with the 2023 Herbert River District crush. Enjoy the break and let’s do it all again in 2024.”


Nick Dametto MP