Crush forecast down but sugar content up

THINGS are on track for this year's Mackay Sugar crushing season.

Chief executive officer Quinton Hildebrand said the three mills had settled down into the season, despite a few teething problems, and about 800,000 tonnes of cane had been crushed across the mills.

"We have found our rhythm now," he said.

At this stage, Mackay Sugar is predicting to crush only about 5 million tonnes, which is 600,000 tonnes lower than last's years total of 5.6 million tonnes.

However, the PRS (percentage recoverable sugar) has been better than first predicted.

"Our testing leading up to the crush indicated a low PRS," Mr Hildebrand said.

"But so far the average has been at 13%, which is similar to last year's total and similar to the five-year average."

However, Mr Hilderbrand said overall this year's crop would be "poor" compared to other years.

At this stage, the crushing end date is scheduled for mid-November.

"For the harvesting ... we want to have dry conditions and a cold snap will improve the PRS," he said.

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