In a continuation of the trend observed in recent bi-weekly harvest updates, the amount of sugarcane processed by mills in the South-Central region of Brazil during the second half of May remained below totals reached in the same period of the previous harvest. The volume of sugarcane processed during that 15-day period reached 35.62 million tons, a 17.62% drop compared to the same period in 2011. Overall sugarcane crushing from the beginning of the harvest to May 31st totaled 70.71 million tons, down 29.61% from 100.45 million tons in the same period of the 2011/2012 harvest.
Crushing has been slow so far in the current harvest because of heavy rains in major sugarcane producing regions. The slower start of the harvest at a number of mills has also been a factor.
According to the Technical Director and Interim CEO of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, “the rain has significantly hindered the harvesting in May. However, an even bigger impact is expected in the results for the first half of June, when rainfall exceeded the expected levels”
Data from the Sugarcane Technology Center (CTC in Portuguese) shows that because of higher rainfall, the number of sugarcane crushing days lost by mills increased in May. On average, mills reported a loss of 8.77 days during the month, compared to 3.54 days of interruption in May of 2011.
Agricultural productivity of the sugarcane harvested in South-Central Brazil so far this season remained lower than a year ago as well. Sampling by the CTC indicates that productivity reached 73.77 tons of sugarcane per hectare in May, down 3.78% compared to the same month in 2011. The total drop in sugarcane productivity from the beginning of the harvest to the end of May reached 4.80% compared to the same period in the previous harvest.
In addition to unfavourable weather conditions, another factor that has contributed to the productivity decline is an early start of harvesting in older fields, with lower productivity. Data collected by the CTC puts the cutting age of sugarcane harvested in May at 3.74 years, compared to 3.45 years during the same month in 2011. Once harvested, these areas will be cleared for new plantations.
By May 31st, the number of mills operating in South-Central Brazil reached 278, compared to 289 units already up and running during the same period in 2011. It should be noted that 12 mills that processed sugarcane in the previous harvest are not expected to operate this year.
Quality of raw material
The amount of Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR) per ton of harvested sugarcane reached 114.90 kg from the beginning of this harvest to May 31st, a 1.20% drop compared to the same period in 2011. In the second half of May, the ATR content totalled 119.53 kg per ton of sugarcane, a 5.82% reduction compared to the same 15-day period of the 2011/2012 harvest.
According to UNICA’s Rodrigues, “if weather conditions observed in the past weeks continue in coming months, the final ATR content for the 2012/2013 harvest may end uip below what we originally forecast back in April. The humidity hinders the production of sugar, especially in the case of higher quality products,” he added.
During the second half of May, the share of harvested sugarcane destined to ethanol production totaled 51.69%, down from 53.90% during the same 15-day period in 2011. Of the total volume of cane processed from the beginning of the 2012/2013 harvest, 54.41% were used to produce ethanol, also below the 57.02% reached in the same period last year.
Sugar production in the second half of May reached 1.96 million tons, compared to 2.41 million tons in the same period of the previous harvest. Overall sugar production from the beginning of the harvest to May 31st totalled 3.53 million tons, a 26.23% drop compared to the same period in 2011.
Ethanol production reached 1.29 billion liters in the second half of May, of which 435.74 million liters were anhydrous and 858.12 million liters were hydrous ethanol. This volume represents a 25.52% drop compared to the same period last year.
Overall ethanol production since the beginning of the harvest has decreased 33.16%, totaling 2.61 billion liters so far in the current harvest, compared to 3.91 billion liters in 2011. The production of anhydrous ethanol reached 560.34 million liters, 912.44 million liters below production for the same period in 2011. Hydrous ethanol production totaled 2.05 billion liters, also down from 2.44 billion liters a year ago.
Ethanol sales by mills in the South-Central region reached 1.64 billion liters in May, of which 645.70 million liters were anhydrous and 995.05 million liters were hydrous ethanol. Of that, 90.85% (1.49 million liters) went to the domestic market and 9.15% (150.12 million liters) were exported.
Domestic sales of anhydrous ethanol totaled 528.14 million liters in May, a 19.02% reduction compared to 2011. In the second half of the month, overall sales of ethanol reached 284.67 million liters, down 11.66% from 322.24 million liters during the same period in the previous harvest.
Domestic sales of hydrous ethanol reached 962.49 million liters in May, a reduction of 10.02% compared to last year's volume for the same month. Of the overall ethanol sales this month, 520.47 million liters of hydrous ethanol were sold during the second half of the month, down 18.68% from the 640.01 million liters sold during the same period in 2011.
Overall ethanol sales from April 1st to May 31st totaled 3.04 billion liters, up 2.69% compared to the same period of the 2011/2012 harvest. Overall sales of anhydrous and hydrous ethanol in this period totaled, respectively, 1.17 billion liters and 1.86 billion liters.
Bi-Weekly bulletin 2012 / 2013 Sugarcane Harvest in South-Central Brazil, position on June 01, 2012.
ABOUT HARVEST DATA:
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