One of the key strategies the Tully sugar industry is working on, through the Tully Variety Management group with SRA, is to find out as quickly as possible which of the new varieties will work best in the various sub districts of the Tully sugar industry.
Tully Sugar can assist growers in deciding which variety or block to harvest commercially at the start of the season by conducting pre-harvest sampling. Pre-harvest sampling has been carried out for many years in Tully and up until season 2018 growers would have to bring samples to the mill to be processed through the small stationary small mill situated behind the cane inspector’s office.
Since 2019 however this can all be done in field using a mobile mill, the same one we trial the new varieties with.
This mobile mobile mill was the idea of growers working closely with Tully Sugar through the Tully Variety Management group, and it has been in operation for pre harvest testing now for almost a month and is available to sample blocks due to be harvested.
The mobile mill crushes the cane with the juice collected analyzed using a device called a polarimeter. From the polarimeter we get a reading which is put through an online calculator supplied by SRA. This online calculator gives a potential CCS reading which allows a comparison between Varieties or blocks to harvest. Ideally we do the same block or variety at least 2 times, a fortnight apart to determine how quickly it is maturing but even of the harvester is due in a few days, it can give an indication of which block will potentially yield the best CCS.
With season 2020 now underway, the mobile mill is also being used in trials on new varieties in all Tully sub districts by way of sampling CCS every 2 weeks over a crop age time of 10 to 14 months. This is done for at least 2 years before a new variety is recommended for commercialisation.