July 30, 2019

Freeze negatively impacts Brazilian Sugarcane Crop

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The unusually hard freeze in southern Brazil during the first week of July had a negative impact on Brazil's sugarcane production. According to the Union of Sugarcane Industries (Unica), approximately 400,000 hectares of sugarcane were impacted by the freeze, which represents about 5% of the 7.5 million hectares of sugarcane expected to be harvested in 2019/20.

The impact was greatest in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, and southern Sao Paulo. In approximately 65% of the area impacted, the sugarcane had not yet been harvested and the freeze will alter the harvesting plan resulting in some sugarcane not being harvested at the ideal maturity.

In the impacted area, the volume of the sugarcane harvested is expected to be reduced by 5 tons per hectares as well as reducing the total recoverable sugars (ATR). From the start of the harvest until July 16th, the total recoverable sugars has averaged 126.3 kilograms per ton, which is already down -4.1% compared to last year.

In areas where the sugarcane had already been harvested at the time of the freeze, the cold temperatures could also impact next year's crop as well.

Thus far this harvest season, the total amount of sugarcane harvested in Brazil is running 10.7 million tons below last year at this time. More of the sugarcane this year is also being directed toward ethanol production. As a result, the amount of sugar produced thus far this harvest season is 10.9 million tons, which is down 1.3 million tons compared to last year.