Delivering the capability to evaluate alternative cane supply arrangements across the sugar industry using a whole industry systems approach : SRDC final report CTA0044
MetadataShow full item record
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. Optimising the harvest date of sugarcane accounts for geographical and crop differences in cane yield and the sugar content of cane for different harvest dates throughout the harvesting season. Whole-ofsystem 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. Options analysis using data from these case studies showed average potential gains in profitability of $119/ha for Mackay and $79/ha for Mossman, at a sugar price of $350/t. To provide the capacity for evaluating and implementing alternative cane supply options in other mill regions, computer tools, user interfaces and standardised databases were developed. The use of this software and documented processes was applied not only to the case study regions but also in partnership with other mill regions, namely Maryborough and the Burdekin. Key outcomes were the reduction in time from start-up to implementation reduced from four years down to one year, an increased uptake from growers and harvesting groups, ease of interpretation of schedules, and increased interest from other mill regions. A computer tool was also developed for the mathematical cane yield re-estimation model, and was used successfully by the Mossman cane inspector during the 2001 harvest season.