Grinding report: Record year not expected
Thirty-six days into the 2019 grinding season, it appears that cane tonnage and sugar production numbers will be somewhat below recent year “bumper crop” figures.
LaSuCa public information point man John Hebert told the Teche News a sketchy weather year is probably responsible for the situation.
“It’s not going to be a bad year, the cane is tall and growth density is good,” he said. “But we had pretty erratic weather during the growing season; too much rain, then too little rain, plus a hurricane. So we ended up with kind of a confused crop.”
With 30 percent of the harvest processed, the tonnage per acre is running about eight percent below projections, Hebert explained. The stalk weight is lower than is ideal and sugar recovery is down by about that same eight percent.
“The cane has just not quite reached full maturation at this point,” he said, “but as the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, the numbers for the 2019 harvest could still improve somewhat.”
Sugar prices, he added, are comparable with last year.
Asked about this off-season’s mill improvements, Hebert responded that most of what was done this year did not increase the mill’s capacity over 2018. Construction of an additional boiler and tandem grinder is well underway, but they are part of the larger two to three year expansion that will come on line in 2020.