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May 21, 2021

Dry Conditions to reduce Brazil's Sugar and Ethanol Production

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

Dry conditions in south-central Brazil are impacting the 2021/22 sugarcane crop and the potential production of sugar and ethanol. The summer rainy season ended at least a month earlier than normal this year in the major sugarcane producing areas leading to moisture stress for the sugarcane especially in south-central Brazil.

According to Conab's first assessment of the 2021/22 Brazil sugar/ethanol production, Brazil is expected to produce 38.9 million tons of sugar, which is down 5.7% compared to the 41.2 million tons produced in 2020/21. Ethanol produced from sugarcane is expected to be 27 billion liters in 2021/22, which is down 9.1% compared to the 29.7 billion liters produced in 2020/21.

South-central Brazil is responsible for approximately 92% of Brazil's sugar production with north/northeastern Brazil responsible for 8%. The major sugarcane producing states are Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goias, Parana, and Alagoas.

The state of Sao Paulo is expected to produce 24.4 million tons of sugar (down 6.5% from last year), Minas Gerais will produce 4.5 million tons (down 4.3%), Goias will produce 2.4 million tons (up 5.2%), Parana will produce 2.5 million tons (down 3%), and Alagoas will produce 1.4 million tons (down 1.4%).

The sugarcane production year in Brazil runs from April 1st through March 31st. The sugarcane harvest in south-central Brazil usually starts in April and ends in November or early December. Sugarcane is generally not harvested during the summer rainy season, which runs from November through March.

Some of the sugar/ethanol mills in west-central Brazil have been retrofitted to utilize corn to make ethanol when sugarcane is not available. Corn will be used to produce approximately 9% of Brazil ethanol production in 2021/22.