Sugar Cane: Hard Work, Sweet Result
-- Customer Story
Based in Clewiston, on the southwest shore of Lake Okeechobee, U.S. Sugar grows cane on as much as 200,000 acres in a given year and processes every bit of it into granulated sugar, molasses and liquid sweetener on one industrial campus.
The effort to do so is meticulously planned because it has to be. Unlike corn, soybeans or wheat, which can be safely stored for months, sugar cane should be processed within 7.5 hours from the time it is cut. The process of cutting the cane gives bacteria from the soil ready access to feed on the cane’s sucrose—creating glucose polymers known as dextran that can cause significant losses in production
As a result, U.S. Sugar’s cane harvest is timed to cut just enough cane to supply a steady stream of product to be processed without delay. Harvest, which generally begins in October, will continue well into April and runs 24 hours per day, weather permitting.
Between U.S. Sugar and Glades Planting LLC, the latter being a U.S. Sugar subcontractor, the South Florida operations this past year used no fewer than 52 tractors from AGCO to help put sweetener on tables worldwide. Between last October into this coming April, U.S. Sugar leased 20 MF7622s that will haul heavy wagons loaded with sugar cane from the fields to rail car elevator collections points.
"Those tractors work 24 hours per day," says Juan Cervera, U.S. Sugar’s harvest operations manager. "One harvest crew comes on at 4 a.m. to 4 p.m., then a second crew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. They are hauling an average of 4,500 tons of cane per day."
"When you look at our operation, we put 3,500 hours on a tractor in a season," says Heather Banky, managing director of grower relations, fleet & special projects. "You don’t see that happen in three or four years in other businesses.
"Juan even manages the fuel usage," says Banky. "You can save money without spending a dime just by being smart with managing machinery. They’ve done a real good job with that."
This year, all the tractors were equipped with AGCO’s AgCommand® monitoring system, which will increase their ability to monitor performance, including fuel usage.
U.S. Sugar is on its second year using the MF7622. The reviews are glowing. "They pull really well," says Cervera. "They pull better than the John Deeres of the same size. The operators like them. They are comfortable."
To read more about U.S. Sugar, check out the full story at http://www.myfarmlife.com/features/sugar-cane-hard-work-sweet-result/