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Growing a sweeter deal

Cane farmer David Petersen on his property near Nikenbah.
Cane farmer David Petersen on his property near Nikenbah. File

SUGARCANE growers in the Fraser Coast can taste the sweetness of excellent financial returns with expectations high for the 2012 season.

Many of the region's farmers have experienced welcome conditions since February and, with market prices still at encouraging levels, should finally see their bank balances increase.

Maryborough Sugar Factory cane supply manager Peter Downs said since heavy rain in December and early January, conditions had been ideal for growing.

"At the moment we are still finalising the crop estimate but it is anticipated to be in the seven hundred (thousand tonnes)," Mr Downs said.

"Certainly it is expected to be up on last year."

The 2011 season saw 669,629 tonnes of cane from the region processed at Maryborough Sugar Factory.

The estimates come at a welcome time for MSF which only last week announced $4.5 million in low-interest loans to Fraser Coast farmers to improve production.

Peterson Farms operator Ashley Peterson said the family business was expecting its best haul for many years.

"It's probably a good average crop, better than last year - not a bumper one but it would certainly be our best crop for a few years," Mr Petersen said.

"Early testing is showing the (sugar content is high), very high for May."

Topics:  crop economy farmers finance fraser coast sugarcane