Improving profitability of the Maryborough Sugar Industry by assessing the options for cane supply and season length : SRDC final report MSF001
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Increasing cost/price pressure has forced the Australian sugar industry to seek innovative avenues for increasing profitability. To address this, the industry saw opportunities for increasing productivity and hence profitability through optimising the harvest date of sugarcane to account for geographical and crop differences in cane yield and the sugar content of cane. Whole-of-system research within CRC-Sugar produced the statistical and optimisation models needed to conduct options analysis for these alternative cane supply arrangements using case studies in Mackay and Mossman. The tools developed in CRC-Sugar were used to develop alternative cane supply options in partnership with the Maryborough sugar region. Through exploiting the geographical differences in CCS and cane yield at harvest date, average gains in profitability were $77/ha (sugar price $350/t) versus current equity arrangements. Farms that were found to be significantly early or late maturing, had higher potential gains. Pilot implementation of alternative cane supplies took place during the 2001 harvest season and involved the Maryborough Sugar Factory, where a significant gain in CCS was achieved. Seven other farms benefited from the optimisation work. The Maryborough region will continue to adopt alternative cane supplies in 2002 with a likely increased uptake of the optimisation strategy.