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May 13, 2021

Sugarcane Harvesting in Brazil during First Month is down 25.4%

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

The Brazilian sugarcane production year goes from April through March and according to Brazilian Union of Sugarcane Industries (UNICA), during the month of April, Brazil processed 45.2 million tons of sugarcane compared to 60.7 million during April of 2020, or a reduction of 25.4%.

As of the end of April, there were 205 sugar/ethanol facilities operational in Brazil, 199 processing sugarcane, 5 using only corn, and 1 flex facility. During the first half of May, another 30 facilities are expected to start processing sugarcane in south-central Brazil. At the end of April 2020, there were 217 sugar/ethanol facilities operational.

During the first month of the harvest season, the average sugarcane yield was 79.8 tons per hectare compared to 89.4 tons per hectare last year or a reduction of 10.7%. The total recoverable sugars (ATR) during the first month of harvest was 116.6 kilograms per ton, which is down 1.65% compared to last year.

The combination of lower yields and lower total recoverable sugars led to lower sugar and ethanol production in April compared to a year earlier. Sugar production in April was 2.15 million tons, which was down 20.1% compared to a year earlier. Ethanol production in April was 2.07 billion liters, which was down 20.5% compared to a year earlier.

The amount of ethanol produced from corn in Brazil continues to increase. During the month of April, there were 228.4 million liters of ethanol produced from corn or an increase of 15.1% compared to a year earlier. In addition to facilities that only utilize corn to produce ethanol, a number of sugar mills have been retrofitted to utilize corn to produce ethanol during the time of the year when sugarcane is not available, which is generally December through March.