NSW Sugar Milling, is a Co-operative that is comprised of over 500 cane farming families in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, in the South East of Australia.
Responsible for the management of a world-class harvest and supply chain, NSW Sugar Milling has used Agtrix harvesting and tracking technology (Farming 3.0, Dashboard) to deliver optimal factory crushing performance during the harvest season.
While traditionally transportation made up a large proportion of the processing costs for the mill, the new Agtrix ‘whole of systems’ approach streamlined the supply chain for maximum efficiency. indicative per tonne cane harvesting costs sat at $5.63 in 2006, compared to the national average of $9.01 in central NSW, during the same period.*
Savings were generated though an integrated tracking system using GPS to records and transmit harvesters as they work. The integrated data is then logged to record machine productivity information while cutting cane. Crop estimates and block status information including cut, fallow, standover, and crop available for each block is visualised and reported, assisting cane supply officers to provide accurate and reliable estimates of crop remaining to be cut, and where it is.
Agtrix’s transport scheduling application, FREDD, then allocates trips for cane pickup from pads to available vehicles based on configurable settings to remove the guess work and space for human error in the process. The program calculates movement based on a number of factors including required crushing rates, maximising average bin weights, variable road conditions including incremental weather events, road repairs and traffic density. Additional KPIs such as minimising cut to crush time, maintaining harvester group equity, zone equity and maximising vehicle utilisation can also be configured into the system. Drivers are also monitored through the FREDD system for fatigue, with the program providing recommendations regarding best times for driver breaks.
Since the program was introduced, NSW Sugar Milling has been able to operate efficiently with minimal stoppages, staff and trucks on the ground – while developing further cost and time-saving measures.
*Sugarcane harvest and transport management: A proven while-of-systems approach that delivers least cost and maximum productivity. G. DINES, S. McRAE, C .HENDERSON, NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative Ltd, NSW, Agtrix Pty Ltd, NSW.International Sugar Journal, 2013.