Cane harvester on Windermere Road.
Cane harvester on Windermere Road. Mike Knott BUN190819CANE1

Dry weather taking toll on cane harvest across region

THE sugarcane harvest is set to finish early, with a lack of rain impacting on crops across the region.

Canegrowers chief executive Dan Galligan said figures for January to September 2019 revealed the southern sugarcane regions have had less than half of their average annual rainfall for the nine-month period, on the back of a very dry 2018.

"The regions around Bundaberg, Childers and Maryborough are particularly parched and the harvest is heading towards a very early October finish because of the smaller crop," he said.

"In the far north, places like Tully and Babinda are around 30 per cent down on average and while the figures in other northern regions look close to average, a lot of their rain fell in the flooding monsoon trough in February and there has been little since."

Last year, 800,000 tonnes went through MSF Sugar's Maryborough Mill, but this year they were expecting about 625,000 tonnes.

Mr Galligan said the expected harvest had been downgraded several times as dry weather took its toll.