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Sweet crushing season so far across Australia

WHILE Queensland's 2015 sugarcane crush topped as the best seen since 2006, figures could still be sweeter.

Australian Sugar Milling Council's target of 36 million tonnes of sugar crushed across the country has so far come in at 32.654million tonnes for Queensland, awaiting figures for New South Wales. Central Queensland scored second highest for the season's intake across the state in 2015, with a crushing eight million tonnes of sugar.

South-east Queensland finished the year with 4.3million tonnes, following Queensland's far north with 7.6million tonnes.

The Herbert-Burdekin region walked in first, with 12.7million tonnes of sugar crushed.

ASMC senior executive officer Jim Crane said drier conditions in Central Queensland would have been one factor to affect the intake, which was a "little down" on the previous year.

Another was the cost of electricity, he said.

"There is also about 60% of irrigation available for the Mackay region to supplement crop growth, but cost of electricity has been high," he said.

"In some cases, growers are choosing not to irrigate due to the costs involved."

Since growers do not solely rely on irrigation, weather is another factor throughout the season.

"Far north Queensland crushed a million tonnes more this year than in 2014, because they had ideal rainfalls to grow crop," Mr Crane said.

"When Queensland gets slightly drier averages, they're probably one of few areas to do okay as they get more sunlight and better growth."

While it was too early to predict how the sugarcane crushing year would play out, Mr Cane said the crops had already had a good start.

"It's always a matter of the sun and stars lining up," he said. "We're clearly coming in to the first few critical months of where the cane grows at its maximum rate. We're looking forward to rain."


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