The 2020 sugar cane crushing season is now well underway with the Labasa Mill having started crushing on 10th June 2020, followed by Rarawai on 23rd June 2020 and the Lautoka Mill on 10th July 2020.
For the period ending 13th July 2020, a total of 182,545 tonnes of cane have been crushed representing just under 10% of the anticipated seasonal estimate of cane available for crushing.
This compares to an equivalent tonnage of 137,446 tonnes crushed in 2019 – an improvement of 33% year on year.
Nationally, mill performance shows an upward trend, with operating time efficiency 40% higher than last year and average weekly mill stoppages 28% lower.
Sugar production of 14,016 tonnes to date is 22% higher than in the equivalent period in 2019, but disappointingly cane purity and recoverable sugar rates remain below last year and below expectation.
Recent cool dry weather will hopefully reverse this trend.
The Labasa Mill is performing very well, having crushed 113,188 tonnes of cane in five weeks of operation. Cane supply has been strong and mill stoppages low, resulting in smooth operations.
To date the mill has recorded mechanical stoppages on average of only 2.8 hours per week.
Sugar recovery is improving and to date TCTS (tonnes cane per tonne of sugar) is recorded at 11.4.
The Rarawai Mill has been crushing for three weeks and has processed 65,982 tonnes of cane. Daily crush rates have improved since start up and the mill is achieving its daily targeted crush.
Further increases are anticipated to match strong cane supply. Preference has been given to manual cutting gangs to supply cane whilst labour supply is good and mechanical harvesting will pick up in the coming weeks, with the Rarawai mill looking to crush on Sunday to cater for mechanical harvester supply.
The Lautoka Mill started crushing on the 10th July and to date has crushed for three days, processing 3,375 tonnes of cane.
The pre-crush problem with the Lautoka boiler fan has been resolved, with local refurbishment and repair.
A burst bulk water pipeline also had to be repaired on 12th July 2020.
The mill is deliberately being run slowly in these first few days and
throughput will increase steadily as operations settle.
Cane supply is adequate from both manual and mechanical harvesting gangs.