Apart from streamlining the harvesting process, the use of these mechanized harvesters could have another major benefit, the reduction of the amount of mud that BSI has to deal with while trying to grind the cane.
As viewers will remember, this season had a tough start because of the volume of muddy cane that the farmers were delivering, and right now, the mill has ground 16% less cane that last year's at this time.
Today, we spoke with one of BSI's consultants who say that mechanizing the harvesting process could help to reduce the amount of mud entering the factory right now due to manually harvested sugar cane.
Modesto Ulloa - International Consultant, ASR/BSI "Rain is the sugarcane grower's worst enemy during the harvesting season. It's a best friend during the planting season because the crop requires moisture to germinate and also moisture to grow. But during the harvesting season we want cool and dry weather. So when we have a rain event like this we have 2 options; one option would be to fold and to stop delivering cane which is in the case of Belize its complicated because we already have more cane than the capacity to process or we continue to 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, what we are doing is cutting mush higher, so that you can see that we leave quite a bit of stomps in the field and the reason for cutting higher is so we feed less mud into the machine. in the case of the grower or the long stick or the BSI long stick, one of the things we want to do is we want to make sure that we stack the cane uniformly higher and that we reduce the amount of pushing that we do with the loaders, so that we don't wrap up the cane in mud. The mud doesn't bring sugar to the factory. Mud brings problems to the factory. So the relationship between mud and rain are very clear. How can we mitigate it is going to be up us. The more mud we put into the factory the lower the grinding rate and the more damage we are going to do to the processing facility. So what we are doing today, is we are trying to cut slowly so that the primary fan can clean the cane better and we are trying to cut higher. In the field with the long stick cane we are trying to make bigger piles so that the grab loader has to go down and grab less cane and therefore grab less mud and so that the grab loaders don't have to push the cane. So right now the amount of mud that we put into the factory is dependent on what harvesting practices we follow."