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Feb 5, 2016

Mechanical Harvesters Will Mean Less Mud

Modesto Ulloa

To assist with the development of the strategic plan for the industry, ASR has brought in sugar consultant Modesto Ulloa. Ulloa’s role is to bring new ideas and technology to modernize the sugar industry in Belize to twenty-first century standards. In early January, B.S.I. complained that the quality of the sugar cane being delivered at the mills was low because of the mud content. Ulloa says that the use of mechanical harvesters reduces the volume of mud taken to the mill.

 

Modesto Ulloa, Consultant, ASR/B.S.I.

“Rain is the sugar cane growers’ worst enemy during the harvesting season; it’s our best friend during the planting season because the crop requires moisture to geminate and also to grow. But during the harvesting season, we want cool and dry weather. So when we have a rain event like this, we have two options—one to fold and stop delivering cane which in the case of Belize is complicated because we already have more cane that the capacity to process or we push on cutting cane under wet conditions and that’s when we need to implement some kind of best harvesting practices. For example in the case of the machine here, in the case we are cutting higher so you see that we are leaving quite a bit of stomps in the field. And the reason for cutting higher is so that we feed less mud into the machine. In the case of the grower or the long stick or the B.S.I. long stick, one of the things we want to do is make sure that we stock the cane uniformly higher and that we reduce the amount of pushing that we do with the loaders so that we do not wrap up the cane in mud. Mud doesn’t bring sugar to the factory; mud brings problem to the factory. So the relationship between mud and rain are very clear; how can we mitigate it is up to us. The more mud we put into the factory, the lower the grind rate and the more damage we do to the processing facility.”

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