Online pricing tool boon for Mossman cane growers


Howard Salkow

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Queensland Sugar Limited’s (QSL) online pricing tool is proving to be a boon for Mossman cane growers who now deal directly with QSL for marketing.

Growers supplying Mossman Mill can now access QSL’s online pricing tool, thanks to a new supply agreement between the industry-owned sugar marketer and Mossman Mill’s owner, Far Northern Milling (FNM) Pty Ltd.

When the Mossman Mill was officially handed over to FNM in July last year after being in the hands of Mackay Sugar since 2012, it was announced that the site would be transitioned into a Bio Precinct that uses the latest in green chemical technology.

Now that FNM owns the mill, growers deal directly with QSL for marketing, said QSL’s Cathy Kelly, Manager, Grower Engagement and External Relations.

“They have 24/7 access to their QSL pricing and payment options via their online QSL Direct accounts and can even price sugar when they’re out and about via our phone app; the first and only app available for Queensland cane growers to price their sugar on the global market.

“They also have access to our full range of pricing and payment options as they are now dealing directly with us. We’ve opened an office in Mossman, so they can get much more personalised support from us if and when they need it,” she said.

Ms Kelly said when Mackay Sugar owned the mill, Mossman growers were not able to deal directly with their industry-owned marketer, QSL.

“They had to submit pricing orders to their miller who passed them on to QSL to action.

“Their miller decided what QSL pricing and payment options they could have access to, and we had no insight into what individual Mossman growers had chosen to do, which in turn limited the support we could provide them.”

Bronwyn Dwyer, Chief Executive Officer, Daintree Bio Precinct Ltd & subsidiary Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd, said grower accessing on online portal are able to access up-to-date sugar pricing information and can place and amend pricing orders for their Grower Economic Interest Sugar on a daily basis.

“Effectively, this is the sugar pricing management system,” she said.

Ms Kelly, meanwhile, said sugar prices are much stronger this season, with QSL growers recently locking in prices over $470/tonne gross for the 2020 Season.

The monthly market update from January can be accessed online.

QSL’s FNQ Grower Relationship Manager Daniel Messina, said the lift in sugar prices was good timing for Mossman growers, who had gained access to their new pricing system.

Ms Dwyer said this means that the cane farmers are able to take advantage of the rally in the sugar price by locking in prices now for the 2020 season and beyond.

She added the rally in the sugar price has been welcomed by the Board of FNM.

“We have just completed the remainder of our pricing for the 2019 season and were able to lock in pricing which exceeded our budget forecast.

“We have also taken advantage of the price spike and locked in some above-forecast pricing for the 2020 season,” she said.

In providing an update on the Bio Precinct, Ms Dwyer said: “We are working with two value adding partners who will commence food grade projects on the Mill site this crushing season.

“We are also working with one of the leading consulting firms to undertake analysis and provide an implementation strategy on a suite of other projects which are a potential fit for the Bio Precinct.” 

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