The 2020 Herbert crush got under way today, with the first bin tipped at Wilmar Sugar’s Victoria Mill at 9.25am. 

Herbert Regional Operations Manager Adam Douglas said it was pleasing to see cane going through the factory after a rain-delayed start to the season. 

“We had a good maintenance period and completed a large number of capital and maintenance projects despite the additional challenges posed by COVID-19,” he said. 

“We put a lot of controls in place in order to keep our people safe and our industry running. 

“I’d like to thank all of our Herbert employees on their commitment to delivering the maintenance season works program against a backdrop of great change and uncertainty.” 

Mr Douglas said rain had delayed the start of crushing by a week. 

Field conditions had dried out enough for harvesters to commence operations in some parts of the district on Monday. 

“We were able to secure enough cane supply to kick off on B side at Victoria Mill. We plan to start crushing on A side and at Macknade Mill as cane supply picks up.” 

Mr Douglas said Wilmar’s Herbert mills would process about 4.16 million tonnes of cane this year – slightly up on last year’s throughput. 

As a group, Wilmar’s eight mills will process about 15 million tonnes of cane. 

Herbert Cane Supply Manager Lindsay Wheeler said the start of crushing meant cane trains were on the move and people should approach all cane rail crossings with caution. 

“Our cane trains can’t come to a quick stop and they can’t swerve. Our message to motorists is clear: Please use your train brain. 

“That means to always be on the lookout for cane trains, to obey all signs and signals at cane railway crossings, and to always give way to oncoming cane trains.”