Rural

Farmers urged to plant sugarcane to cash in on demand

Sugarcane harvesting.
Sugarcane harvesting. Mike Knott

GYMPIE'S burgeoning sugar industry could be on the brink of a multi-million-dollar expansion, with the Maryborough Sugar Factory casting its eyes south and waving the cheque book to lure embattled dairy farmers and graziers into sugarcane.

MSF cane supply officer Chris Coutts-Smith said yesterday about 800ha of land at Goomboorian and Scotchy Pocket was under sugarcane cultivation, producing about 5% of the factory's supply.

MSF hopes to grow Gympie's contribution by 50% by expanding production in those areas, and starting it in the Mary Valley.

"Our business owners are keen to see the factory run at full capacity, meaning we plan to grow by another 25%," Mr Coutts-Smith said.

"As land around Maryborough becomes scarce, we expect that the area south to Gympie will benefit from much of this expansion.

"My own role with the company is to help foster expansion and encourage new growers into the industry.

"Many of our existing growers are expanding as a result of an improved price outlook and a better system of risk management through forward pricing.

"However we have a short age of available land close to Maryborough, so we are keen to talk with landowners further afield."

While sugarcane cannot be grown on steep slopes or on land subject to heavy frosts, Goomboorian's reliable rainfall provides the Maryborough factory with some of its lowest cost production.

"Sugarcane will grow in a variety of soil types," Mr Coutts-Smith said.

"The fertile flats of the Mary River produce some of our highest yields.

"While it's unlikely sugarcane will ever be the major crop in Gympie, we believe many properties currently used for grazing or dairies would be suitable.

"Our efficient transport system allows us to source cane from as far away as 100km without any extra freight cost to the grower.

"Of course, we can also negotiate freight rates from further afield."

Mr Coutts-Smith said the factory had received numerous inquiries from Gympie region dairy farmers hit hard by the milk price war.

"Many of these already grow fodder crops, so they have the skills, land and equipment to easily make the change to sugarcane," he said.

Sugar is a major player in the Queensland economy, accounting for about $1.8 billion or 12.5% of the state's primary industry gross value of production.

"We are now considered to be amongst the most competitive producers in the world, and are ideally placed to supply the growing demand for sugar in Asia," Mr Coutts-Smith said.

MSF owns four sugar mills in Queensland, making it Australia's third largest producer and second largest exporter.

Each year, the Maryborough factory crushes about 700,000 tonnes of sugarcane supplied from more than 100 growers. About 100,000 tonnes of raw sugar is produced for export out of Bundaberg port.

Sugar has been grown in the Fraser Coast region since the 1860s and the Maryborough factory has been in operation since 1895.

"Our local industry turns over $53 million with $32 million paid directly to growers, and we estimate it supports 500 families on the Fraser Coast."

Gympie Times

Topics:  maryborough sugar factory sugarcane sugar industry



Where to find the best coffee

COFFEE snobbery is at an all-time high in Australia with the hipster movement carving a whole new breed of caffeine-loving consumers.

10 best street art spots to take an Insta selfie

Send yourself on a scavenger hunt around Brisbane to discover the incredible street art.

GET your phone and selfie-stick ready!

Theatre royalty graces Brisbane stage

Don't miss Charles Edwards in this incredible theatre performance.

WHEN acting royalty comes to town, you sit up and take notice.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Fire fighters on scene at Bells Bridge

A storm is crossing the region but fire fighters are on the scene of a grassfire at Bells Bridge.

Fire fighters on scene at Bells Bridge

UPDATE: Warning issued as storm heads for Gympie

LOCAL STORM: A storm approaches Gympie.

Severe thunderstorm warning issued as storm expected to hit Gympie.

'Gympie water meets all standards and is high quality'

Mayor reassures residents of high water quality

Local Partners

Victory Care to take a two-month break

A COMMUNITY staple for the past six years, Victory Care Services is closing its doors for two months to give volunteers a breather.


Party Outback at the Kenilworth Hotel

PARTY OUTBACK: The Kenilworth Hotel aims to keep live music in pubs alive.

Kenilworth hosts live music

Kandanga hosts food and agribusiness forum

LOCALLY FRESH: A free food and agribusiness forum will be held in Kandanga this week.

Food and agribusiness forum to be held in Kandanga on Thursday

What's on in Gympie this weekend?

KEEP ROLLING: The long-awaited opening of Gympie's Skatezone is this weekend.

From roller skating to community expos, there's plenty on.

Jimmy Kimmel opens up about Oscars stuff-up

Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel gives his take on the epic Oscars envelope error: “It was the weirdest TV finale since ‘Lost’”

Groom threatens to walk out of Married At First Sight

Andrew is just about done with his “horrible” relationship with Cheryl.

ANOTHER explosive breakup is looming after a disastrous home visit.

'I wasn't naked': Blanca Blanco speaks out

Blanca Blanco arriving at the 89th Academy Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSource:AAP

"It was a nude colour, it matches my skin, so I wasn’t naked.''

‘IT’S A LITTLE SAD’: Trump makes Oscars bungle all about him

US President Donald Trump claims Hollywood's elite were too busy mocking him to pay attention on Oscars night.

Donald Trump ‘explains’ Oscars stuff up.

Lama and Sarah’s ‘epic’ MKR fail

My Kitchen Rules contestants Lama and Sarah.

Tempers flare as Lebanese feast turns into an epic fail.

Oscars 2017: How did biggest award get stuffed up?

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

'Guys in headsets starting buzzing around. They took the envelope.'

Lisa Curry can't marry her fiance

Lisa Curry breaks down in the jungle.

Lisa Curry says she can’t get married to her fiance

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

Agent: Mary Valley in 'happy place' after Imbil mega auction

Auctioneer Gordon Macdonald (left) with Ron Jeffery front the crowd in preparation to start Ron Jeffery's record largest auction.

Two sold, more in negotiations following Imbil mega auction.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!