QUEENSLAND's sugar industry is set for another challenging year after suffering significant production declines and low prices during 2019.
The Australian Sugar Milling Council director of industry affairs, Jim Crane, said there had been a worrying reduction in both the cropping area and yields across all regions in 2019, with recovery unlikely in 2020.
ASMC data shows the total Queensland cane crop for 2019 was 28.4 million tonnes, down 6.7 per cent from the 30.4mt in 2018 and some 6mt less than the 34.4mt (-17.4pc) crop in 2016.
It is difficult to see sugar production levels in Queensland recovering in 2020.
"The crop area harvested was also down 12,000 hectares across the state's sugar regions last year," Mr Crane said. (350,082ha in 2019 compared to 362,414ha in 2018).
The data also revealed the tonnes of cane produced from each hectare in 2019 was lower than the average result for the past eight years across every Queensland sugarcane production region.
"While the lift in the global sugar price and recent widespread rain in most districts has certainly been welcome, in some areas the rain has come too late to deliver any marked improvement in crop tonnages for 2020," Mr Crane said.
"Given this outlook, it is difficult to see sugar production levels in Queensland recovering in 2020."