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Impacts of harvest mechanisation on mill cane supply: a modelling approach

Le Gal P.Y., Le Masson J., Bezuidenhout C.N., Lagrange L.F., Lyne P.W.L.. 2008. Proceedings of the Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologists' Association, 81 : p. 418-421. Annual Congress of the South African Sugar Technologists' Association (SASTA). 81, 2008-07-29/2008-07-31, Durban (Afrique du Sud).

Mechanisation of the harvesting operation is increasing in the South African sugar industry to solve problems associated with labour shortages. A modelling approach has been developed and used to explore various impacts of mechanised harvesting on the integrated supply chain at the Noodsberg mill. Through coupling a supply planning tool (MAGI®) with a logistics simulation tool (ARENATM), two supply chain issues could be investigated, namely (i) how harvest mechanisation would impact on the length of the milling season (LOMS) and total production, and (ii) what infrastructure is required to harvest 75% of the crop mechanically, as opposed to the current 16%. The models suggest that it would be valuable to reduce the LOMS by four weeks at the beginning of the harvest season and four weeks at the end of the season, to avoid the rainy periods. Modelling showed that the current logistics configuration at Noodsberg (16 harvesters and 195 transport vehicles) is over-sized and inefficient as far as cane supply is concerned. It was estimated that between 7 and 13 harvesters, serviced by 17 to 28 trucks, would support a 75% mechanised harvesting scenario. This discussion also briefly explores a range of other issues that will need to be addressed should mechanical harvesting be increased in the Noodsberg area.

Mots-clés : modèle de simulation; saccharum officinarum; canne à sucre; mécanisation; récolte; organisation du travail; transport; afrique du sud; approvisionnement

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