Why this cane crushing season has never looked better
THE Tweed's evening sky will begin to glow as the region's cane farmers begin harvesting and crushing their crops.
Three Northern Rivers mills will harvest an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of sugar between now and November.
Condong's sugar mill kicked off the season last week with Harwood sugar mill on the Clarence to follow suit.
Meanwhile, Broadwater's mill on the Richmond won't start until June 22.
Sunshine Sugar CEO Chris Connors said all three sugar cane growing areas will have a new fleet of Mercedes Benz trucks to haul cane from the farms to the factories.
Mr Connors said the new trucks would provide reliability and fuel economy benefits as well as state-of-the-art environmental and safety features.
"Safety features include adaptive cruise control and an automated emergency brake feature, which can automatically initiate braking for pedestrians, as well as lane keeping assistance and fatigue alert," Mr Connors said.
"Condong Mill area will also see the introduction of brand new quad axle trailers, fitted with the latest safety features.
"These trailers are forecast to reduce the number of truck movements to the factory by around 17 per cent.
"As the areas in which we grow sugarcane have become more populated, it is imperative we balance running costs and community safety."
He said in addition to the new truck fleet, the state-of-the-art $9 million warehouse at the Harwood Mill and Refinery has been officially opened.
Mr Connors said the modern facility had already proved itself to be an asset during a recent surge in product demand with more locals staying home and baking.
"As an essential agriculture and food business, Sunshine Sugar has been operating with strict hygiene measures in place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia," he said.
"The procedures we have put in place have allowed us to maintain full production in our refinery to keep up with a spike in consumer demand.
"These procedures will remain in place, and flow through to the broader harvesting and milling operations."