A smaller sugarcane harvest is being forecast for the Bundaberg Region in 2019 and the crush will begin on 1 July.
Writing in the Bundaberg Canegrowers monthly newsletter, chairman Allan Dingle said the outlook was for 1.19 million tonnes through the rollers from a harvested area of 15,892ha, giving an average of 75t/ha.
“Estimates for the 2019 season are all in and the total is far from where we would like it,” he said.
“Around 280ha for standover and 370ha for plants are not included in the above figures.
“The proposed crush rate is 79,000t/week with Millaquin in six-day mode and Bingera in five-day mode. That gives a 15.1 week season with no wet weather.”
Mr Dingle said alternative crops had assisted cash flow for farmers.
“Those growers who grew peanuts and soybean are harvesting flat out,” he said.
“The showery weather has seen a few days of lost time. There are probably still a few weeks to go before both crops are all in silos.
“Edible soybeans are $820/t farm gate and peanuts are around $950/t. Quality and yield are quite good in both crops providing a healthy increase in cash flows.
The “Grain in Cane” program was progressing well around the rain of the May weekend.
“Yields have been acceptable given the dry growing conditions with yields generally between 2-3 t/ha with some lower and an occasional block higher yielding,” he said.
“Quality generally has been high but the late rain has affected some soybean grain.
“Prices have been solid with edible grain over $800 per tonne and full fat soybeans in the high $600s.
“Both of these prices are higher than we received for edible grain last season reflecting a market with a shortage of quality grain.”
Mr Dingle said rainfall above 50mm in most areas during April had been “of some benefit” to the sugarcane crop.
“We still need more to enhance soil moisture and fill the many empty dams and water storages in the district,” he said.
“Some growers that rely totally on dams will start the next growing season with no water.”