Brazil Sugarcane Ethanol Update

Cindy Zimmerman

This year’s Brazilian sugarcane crush figures are being revised downward, but still are higher than last year at the moment. Meanwhile, ethanol production is up from last year but exports are down significantly.

UNICAThat’s according to the latest report from the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

The new forecast projects that crushing will reach 570.191 million tons, 3.70% less than the estimate released by UNICA at the start of the harvest in April of 2010 (595.89 million tons), but 5.88% higher than the 541.96 million tons crushed in the 2009/2010 harvest.

Dry weather in the key growing regions is the reason for the lowered forecast, with rainfall significantly lower in some areas, affecting the harvest and reduced the overall availability of cane for crushing by 47 million tons. The State of São Paulo, where more than 60% of all of Brazil’s sugarcane is located, was the most affected region. The dry weather has also resulted in an early end to the harvest season.

According to UNICA Technical Director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, “the dry weather has persisted through August and if the usual rainfall patterns for this time of year are not resumed in coming months, we will probably have an even deeper harvest failure, which may require a new, revised projection of the amount of cane available for the current harvest.”

Brazilian ethanol production is expected to reach 26.39 billion liters, down 3.66% from the original projection, but 11.40% higher than last year. However, ethanol exports remain below historical values and nearly 46 percent less than this time last year, while domestic use is up 50 percent.

Brazil, Ethanol, UNICA