Monthly Newsletters

Chairman's Comment

Bingera Closure

I’m sure that by now you’ve all heard about the closure of Bingera Mill. It’s sad and disappointing but also not unexpected. I’m sure that Bundaberg Sugar thought long and hard over the decision to not operate the Bingera factory into the future. Bundaberg Sugar have made it known over the last few years that two (2) million tonnes was the magic number to keep both mills operating. Over time the tonnage has fallen away and now the area produces just over one (1) million tonnes. There are many reasons, probably too many to mention for the closure. I’m sure we can all understand the decision and why it was made but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept.

Bundaberg Sugar have given us assurances that all existing CSPA’s will be honoured. The 2021 season should continue as usual with all cane to be crushed at Millaquin. Transport of all growers cane will be the same as 2020 with some changes to the delivery of mill owned cane. If you have any concerns please contact Matthew Curtis, Bundaberg Sugar on 4150 8572, your Grower Services Officer, Dale or myself.

I hope the transition to one (1) mill will be seamless. I’m sure the question you are all asking is Millaquin’s capacity to crush almost twice as much as it did this year and what the season length will be. Bundaberg Sugar have indicated that they will be increasing the maintenance budget and also investing in capital works. We have a current CSPA which has a season length in place. I, like you, have some concerns with Millaquin’s reliability as it will now go continuous mode having less time for maintenance.


What is that? We had a few showers here and there over the last month with only a couple of worthwhile totals and they were under 20mm. It is as dry or may be drier than last year. The difference being on farm storage’s  and ground water allocations are lower, making the decision on when to start irrigating difficult with limited water. Most surface water irrigators have 100%. On the bright side, storms are forecast until Thursday this week so hopefully we will all get a drenching.

2020 Season

The 2020 season finished at Millaquin last Wednesday 21 October. An end to a disappointing harvest. All up about 1,050,000 tonnes will go through the rollers this year. The prolonged dry weather had the greatest bearing on the crop. Low sugar prices also played a part. CCS was around the five (5) year average. Overall the mills performed reasonably well with Bingera, the shining star, at around 98% reliability. Millaquin will now have to pull its socks up and have a crack if it’s going to mirror that. I hope it does.

Through rollers for the core season was 1,039,543.59 tonnes. There was approximately 9,000 tonnes of Bundaberg Sugar Organic cane crushed on top of this.

Supplied                1,039,543.59 tonnes

From                     13,679.88 hectares

Av yield                 76 tonnes per hectare

Used for plants      335.19 hectares

Stand over             244.75 hectares

Destroyed              81.87 hectares


We have sent the candidates our election issues and have given them until Wednesday 28 October 2020 to respond. We will email the responses to all members on that night.


We are continuing with our battle with council over rates and it is gaining momentum. Support from many groups and individuals is increasing by the day, and the petition is going well. I still can’t understand how the council thinks that what they have done to the agriculture sector is acceptable. They may have a budget shortfall, now almost everyone in agriculture in Bundaberg, has a bigger shortfall. Cut your cloth council and live within your means. We all have to... so much for Bundaberg Regional Council supporting agriculture.

We have reprinted recent correspondence from the alliance group to the Council calling for the rate decision to be rescinded, refer to the insert, it is a very good summary of what has happened.

We have spoken to a number of the elected members and it is obvious that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are not keeping their colleagues informed of the impact.

Jason Bartels, Div 1

0438 681 189

Bill Trevor, Div 2

0429 873 103

Wayne Honor, Div 3

0488 539 224

Tracey McPhee, Div 4

0437 896 592

Greg Barnes, Div 5

0488 539 123

Tanya McLoughlin, Div 6

0437 925 584

Vince Habermann, Div 7

0437 951 285

Steve Cooper, Div 8 

0428 040 719

May Mitchell, Div 9

0437 885 384

John Learmonth, Div 10

0438 546 297

Jack Dempsey, Mayor

0408 390 690

If you have had a significant increase please call the Mayor, or your divisional councillor and ask them why and what they intend to do about it to fix it. Phone numbers below. We have also included a bumper sticker. If you want more call the office.

Trash Payment Update

The second instalment for trash supplied to Oreco’s factory up to 31 August 2020 will be paid to growers before the end of October. Trash supplied from 1 September 2020 will be due for payment to growers in six (6) equal monthly instalments commencing 15 January 2021.


Ray Goodwin, our Authorised Insurance Representative has a vast knowledge of insurance and is great with claims. Ray has access to many insurers who can provide competitive quotations for all types of insurance, including farm, motor, home, landlord, business, caravan and boat. Ray can be contacted on 0418 891 783.


Preparation for planting soybeans should be happening soon. Planting should begin in late November for the main variety A-6785 although there are some more planting windows due to the release of three (3) new varieties in the last couple of years. The Grain in Cane Cooperative has secured contracts that are $50 per tonne above the current spot price and with the contracts being guaranteed minimum price contracts it means that growers share in any upside in pricing that occurs during the harvest/ delivery period. If growers are looking for advice on growing and marketing soybeans they should contact Matt Leighton on 0437 084 035. 

To view the October edition, click here

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