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Harvest difficulties and higher ethanol sales mark sugarcane harvest for the second half of June

Sugarcane processing mills in Brazil’s South-Central region processed 29.10 million tons of sugarcane in the second half of June, a 17.50% drop from first half of the month, when 35.28 million tons were processed and down 8.20% from the same period a year ago, when the total amount of cane processed reached 31.70 million tons.

“This retraction in the crush happened because of rains that severely affected some producing regions, hampering harvest activities,” said UNICA Technical Director Antonio de Padua Rodrigues. In the second half of June, rainfall levels were far from consistent throughout the South-Central region, with some areas able to devote hardly any time to harvest activities, while other areas experienced little impact from rains, Rodrigues added.

From the start of the current season through the end of June, the cane crush totaled 180.98 million tons. That's a  52.60 million ton increase compared to the amount of cane processed in the same period last year but 16.11% less than the 215.73 million tons processed during the same period in the 2010/2011 harvest, when the South-Central region recorded a record cane crush of 556.95 million tons.

Sugar and ethanol production

Mills in the South-Central region continue to prioritize ethanol production over sugar production. In the second half of June, only 41.90% of the cane processed went to sugar production, compared to 47.79% in the second half of June 2012.

Similarly, from the start of the current season through June 30, only 41.85% of the cane processed went to sugar production, the second lowest percentage in the last 10 harvests. Only in 2008/2009 was the percentage of cane dedicated to sugar production through to the end of June lower than this year's share.

“If we do a simple exercise, extrapolating the trend observed up until now to the coming periods in the current season, we conclude that all of the growth expected from the crush will be directed toward ethanol production,” Rodrigues said.

Hence, despite the recent retraction in the cane crush, ethanol production during the second half of June reached 1.28 billion liters, a 5.98% increase versus the second half of June 2012. Sugar production slipped by 16.36%, from 1.80 million tons in the second half of June 2012 to 1.50 million tons in the second half of June 2013.

Ethanol production in the second half of June broke down into 700.27 million liters of hydrous and 578.35 million liters of anhydrous ethanol, down 2.19% and up 17.90% respectively, compared to the same period in 2012.

From the start of the current season through June 30, sugar production totaled 8.90 million tons. Ethanol production totaled 7.61 billion liters, split into 4.64 billion liters of hydrous and 2.97 billion liters of anhydrous ethanol.

“Noteworthy is the accumulated production of anhydrous ethanol, which more than doubled compared to the same period last season,” Rodrigues said. That data point illustrates the commitment of the sugar-energy industry to respond to the 25% anhydrous ethanol blend rate in gasoline reintroduced this year by the Brazilian government, and it also eliminates any doubts about the industry’s capacity to produce anhydrous ethanol, Rodrigues added.

Cane quality

The Total Recoverable Sugars (TRS) index per ton of sugarcane processed reached 129.24 kg in the second half of June, up 3.93% from the 124.34 kg recorded in the second half of June 2012.

From the start of the current season through the end of June, the TRS reached 123.26 kg/ton, 4.08% higher than the 118.43 kg/ton registered during the same period last year.

Ethanol sales

Ethanol sales by South-Central mills totaled 2.24 billion liters in June, a 33.46% increase compared to the 1.68 billion liters sold in June of 2012. Of the 2.24 billion liters sold in June, 469.81 million liters were for export, and 1.77 billion liters remained in Brazil’s domestic market.

The volume for Brazil’s domestic market broke down to 738.99 million liters of anhydrous and 1.03 billion liters of hydrous ethanol, an increase of 17.00% compared to the previous harvest season.

In the second half of June, the lower price of hydrous ethanol at the pump boosted sales, and mills sold 545.72 million liters of hydrous ethanol – an increase of 12.82% compared to the first half of June, WHEN 483.69 million liters were sold, and up 26.37% compared to the second half of June 2012, when the total reached 431.83 million liters.

To see the tables of assessment fortnightly crop, position 01 of July, click here.

To view the full report, click here.

The data released in this harvest update was compiled and analyzed by UNICA, with figures provided by the following syndicates and associations of producers from the South-Central states:

ALCOPAR - Association of Producers of Ethanol and Sugar in the State of Paraná
BIOSUL - Association of Bioenergy Producers of Mato Grosso do Sul
SIAMIG - Syndicate of Ethanol Manufacturing Industry in the State of Minas Gerais
SIFAEG - Syndicate of Ethanol Producers of the State of Goiás
SINDAAF - Fluminense Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Producers
SINDALCOOL - Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Industry of Mato Grosso
SUDES - Society of Plants and Distilleries of the State of Espirito Santo

12/18/2013 Sector - Record season for ethanol supply in South-Central Brazil unlikely to be repeated
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11/18/2013 Sector - Cane crush reaches 510.12 million tons in Brazil’s South-Central region
10/23/2013 Sector - Rains in South-Central Brazil slow cane processing, reduce cane quality in the first half of October
10/12/2013 Sector - Sugarcane harvest pace slows winds down in South-Central Brazil, crush totals 25.77 million tons in second-half of November