THE near-infra-red cane quality payment system that will go online in June this year will ensure farmers are fairly compensated for the quality of cane they produce, says Sugar Industry Tribunal commissioner Tim Brown.
"People have been asking us what is payment by quality," he said. "And in layman's terms, the most simple explanation is this — if one farmer cuts 10 tonnes of cane and after processing produces one tonne of sugar while another grower harvests 10 tonnes of cane and only manages half a tonne of sugar, should they be paid the same?"
Mr Brown said the system would identify and track cane from the field to the mill had been carefully studied and thought out before being implemented.
"All the cane lorries and rail carts will have a plastic tag, which will identify the farm the cane was harvested from.
"When they arrive at the mill, an electronic reader will pick them up and assign the rail cart or lorry an identification number after verifying the farm and lorry or rail cart details.
"Once it gets to the cane carrier, another reader will confirm which farm's cane, after cross-referencing with the rail cart or lorry tag, is being pulled in for processing.
"When the cane reaches the chute, the NIR system measures the cane quality and sends this information back to the control room," Mr Brown said.
He said any system issues would be ironed out this season prior to it being fully implemented next year.