Michael O’Connor


Topic: Mechanization of Sugarcane Farms in SE Asia

More than 40% of the world’s sugarcane is grown throughout SE Asia, China, Pakistan and India.  Estimates suggesting that currently more than 70% of this sugarcane is still planted and harvested by hand.  Therefore, expect some fairly dramatic changes in the way we farm throughout this region over the next two decades.

SE Asia is tracking towards total sugarcane production of around 250MT by 2022.  Increased mechanisation and adopting best practices, particularly with ground preparation and planting could help increase sugarcane production by 20%.  This could mean an additional 50MT of sugarcane produced each year by embracing similar practices to that of a fully mechanised sugarcane country like Australia.

Labour costs still look relatively low for most of SE Asia.  However, it is inevitable with greater urbanisation, a gradual decrease in suitable labour, increased pressure on wages and government restrictions on harvesting practices, will all ultimately place greater focus on farmers to get more efficient with their farming techniques.

“I am the former co-owner and Sales Director of MPH Rural Pty. Ltd. a family owned, manufacturing and construction SME operating in the highly competitive, seasonal markets of grain and water storage.
For more than a decade I developed and grew the MPH Rural business and gained an extensive knowledge of the Australian agricultural industry and the demands of regional business and property owners.
My brother, Jim O’Connor and I purchased Gessner Industries in July 2013. Gessner Industries specialize in the design and manufacture of the highest quality equipment and attachments for the Agricultural, Construction and Mining Industries throughout Australia, Africa and Asia. In 2015, Gessner Industries will have operated continuously for 40 years.”