Joe Zunker shows off the sugar industry overall district champion award won by himself and wife Coral for the third year in a row.
Joe Zunker shows off the sugar industry overall district champion award won by himself and wife Coral for the third year in a row. Paul Beutel

Family takes home top sugar award

JOE and Coral Zunker were celebrating taking out the overall district champion for the third consecutive year at the annual Bundaberg Sugar Industry Productivity Achievement Awards at Brothers Sports Club on Friday night.

Mrs Zunker put the success of the family owned and run business, Redtrail Pty Ltd, down to hard work and good management.

“We’ve got great soil and we are dedicated cane farmers and we have a good recipe for harvesting,” Mrs Zunker said.

After harvest the Zunker family, who have properties near Woongarra and Bucca, trash blanket and fertilise the soil to produce a good yield.

The overall district champion is awarded to the farm with the highest tonnes of sugar per cane hectare average for the past three seasons.

The award came as a surprise to the Zunker family.

“The mills gives you print outs but you don’t really know what your grading is within the area, but when you are near the top of the sheet you have a fair idea,” Mrs Zunker said.

Mrs Zunker said she thought the coming season would be more evenly weighted.

“We keep the cane going through the dry period by transferring water in. With all the rainfall in past two months that will most likely even it out,” she said.

Mrs Zunker said additional water would provide extra tonnes per hectare.

The Zunkers were also awarded the highest tonnes of sugar per harvested hectare for the Millaquin Mill.

Productivity Awards Committee chairman and Bundaberg Canegrowers senior deputy chairman Tony Castro said overall productivity in 2009 had been higher than previous years.

“The outlook is good for 2010 and this is our opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the 2009 season,” he said.

About 220 growers, millers, marketers, sponsors and industry associates attended the dinner, which handed out 15 awards in 12 categories.

Lloyd Poulsen and Mike Smith were acknowledged with service to the industry awards and Jeremy Ford was given the young industry achiever award.



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