LUGANO, Switzerland - (October 3, 2012) - Case IH demonstrated the advantages of mechanization with its latest products for the sugar cane industry at Congrès Sucrier 2012, the international sugar conference recently held in Saint-Gilles-le-Bains, west part of Réunion. Case IH, together with its local dealer Foucque Matériels, was one of the Congress's main sponsors who actively participated in the five day event. The Congress brought together the main actors of the local sugar cane commodity chain, international professionals, representatives of agricultural manufacturers and academics from France, Africa, Brazil and other key regions to share knowledge and explore the sector's current situation and future outlook. Daniel Lacaille, Managing Director of Foucque Matériels, is very pleased with the event: "The congress gave us the opportunity to highlight the benefits and opportunities of mechanization for the sugar cane industry, as well as the difference it can make in preserving the territory." Case IH featured prominently in the Congress's field demonstrations, a key part of the official program which also included panels and technical visits dedicated to growers, food processing companies involved in sugar cane production, and representatives of the sugarcane ethanol industry. Congress delegates were able to see Case IH put a selection of its machines for the sugar cane industry through its paces to demonstrate the benefits of mechanization. These included Puma 210 and Puma 140 tractors, which are among the preferred tractors of Réunion's farmers and were used to demonstrate land preparation, fertilization and transport operations. Three sugar cane harvesters, which included the highest capacity machine in the market, the Austoft® 8000, highlighted the efficiency and environmental features of mechanized harvesting. The demonstrations took place at the Société Agricole de Bérive, in the southern region of the Island. Owned and managed by Richard and Bertrand Isautier, the farm cultivates 200 ha at low altitude with sugar cane destined for two sugar cane processing plants. A long-standing Case IH customer and renowned rum producer and sugar cane grower, the Isautier family also owns the island's oldest large-scale distillery, founded in 1845, and is recognized at international level for the high quality of its rum. Richard and Bertrand Isautier were happy to host the demonstrations, as it gave them the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for Case IH's machines and the important role they play in their farm with representatives from sugar mills and sugar cane growers from important markets in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. "We have run Case IH Austoft® sugar cane harvesters for over twenty years, and the Austoft® 7000 we have since 2008 is exceptionally reliable," commented Bertrand Isautier. "It can harvest up to 60 tons an hour, although we generally only harvest 250 tons per day to match the quotas and delivery times of the sugar mills. In our fleet we also have six tractors that include two Case IH Puma 210 and Puma 125 we purchased very recently." "Sugar cane farming is particularly well suited to the tropical climate here in La Réunion, with high temperatures all year round and heavy rainfall that has been known to reach as much as 10 m in a year," added Richard Isautier. "Researchers have achieved up to 30% increases in sugar cane yields over the past 20 years, and today growers in La Réunion enjoy the highest yields in the world. In our farm we can achieve as much as 130 t/ha, but in some parts of the island they can reach 170t/ha. Compare this to yields in Brazil or Australia, where yields don't exceed 80 t/ha!" Daniel Lacaille, commented: "Agriculture is the main economic driver in the island and sugar cane cultivations account for about the 60% of total agricultural land. Sugar canes represent a source of food but also of sustainable energy for the local industry: every year, sugar cane biomass generates enough power to supply the entire island's energy needs for 6 months. In addition, sugar cane cultivation provides excellent protection against erosion and growers in La Réunion use the by-products of sugar processing to feed the soil when planting. "The future of this industry is full of opportunity, and Case IH is well equipped to help this country make the most of them, with its long history in this sector," concluded Daniel Lacaille. The top-player in sugar cane harvesting machinery in Réunion, it is the originator of sugar cane harvesting technology and a world leader in cane harvesting solutions with over 50 years of experience. Case IH's industry-leading harvesters are complemented by a wide range of machinery well suited to sugar cane operations that includes tractors, self-propelled sprayers, tillage complexes, balers and other attachments."