Sugarcane processing by mills in the South-Central region of Brazil in the first half of May reached 20.96 million tons, a 36.89% drop compared to the 33.21 million tons of cane crushed during the same period in 2011. Overall sugarcane crushing since the beginning of the 2012/2013 harvest totaled 35.09 million tons by mid-May, a 38.67% drop compared to the same period last year, when the total reached 57.22 million tons.
One reason for the drop in the amount of sugarcane processed so far in the current harvest is the delay in the beginning of the harvest at several mills. Wet weather delaying harvesting operations in most of the producing region has also been a factor.
Only 235 mills were operational by May 15, down from 273 mills that were up and running in the same period in 2011. Units that are still not in operation in the 2012/2013 harvest represent 12.91% of the total amount of sugarcane crushed last year at the same stage of the harvest, or 63.67 million tons.
In the first half of May, harvesting at several mills had to be stopped when rainfall reached 90 millimetres in some municipalities in traditional sugarcane production regions of São Paulo State. In the month of April, the rainfall indicator calculated by the Center for Sugarcane Technology (CTC in Portuguese) was 25.39% higher than historical levels for that period of the year.
According to the Technical Director and Interim CEO of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, “if long range weather forecast are confirmed, we should have a much more humid winter with more non-operational days affecting crushing performance at many mills.” In this scenario, a drop in the sucrose content is also likely to happen, making it difficult to maintain industrial productivity according to Rodrigues, especially in the case of sugar production.
Agricultural productivity of the cane harvested so far this season is producing a slightly lower yield than in the same period of the previous harvest, Rodrigues adds: "This drop was expected, because the harvest area in the beginning of the harvest was strongly impacted by drought in February and March of 2012.”
Sugar and ethanol production
Production levels remain lower than in the previous harvest for both sugar and ethanol, on the heels of the crushing delay at the start of the harvest. In the first half of May, the production of sugar totaled 1.02 million tons, versus 1.56 million tons produced in the same period in 2011. The volume of ethanol production reached 772.81 million liters, of which 599.89 million liters were hydrous and 172.92 million liters were anhydrous ethanol. Total ethanol production in the same period a year ago was a much higher 1.27 billion liters.
Overall sugar production since the beginning of the harvest reached 1.57 million tons, a drop of 33.89% compared to the same period in the 2011/2012 harvest. Ethanol production was down 39.28%, reaching 1.32 billion liters, compared to 2.17 billion liters observed in the previous harvest.
Of the total volume of processed cane in the first 15 days of May, 45.11% was used to produce sugar and 54.89% went to ethanol production. Since the beginning of the 2012/2013 harvest, the share of raw material directed to ethanol reached 57.42%.
Quality of Raw Material
The quantity of Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR) per ton of sugarcane reached 113.67% in the first 15 days of May, a drop of 0.50% compared to the 114.25 kg obtained in the same period in 2011. From the beginning of the harvest to May 15, ATR concentration was 1.79% higher compared with the same period a year ago, with the ATR total reaching 110.21 kg per ton of cane.
Ethanol sales by mills in South-Central Brazil, from the beginning of April to May 15 totaled 2.14 billion liters, an 11.58% increase compared to the same period in the previous harvest. Of the overall ethanol volume, 2.02 billion liters remained in the domestic market, an 8.09% increase compared to the same period in the previous harvest. Of that total, 1.29 billion liters were hydrous and 729.97 billion liters were anhydrous ethanol.
In the first half of May, ethanol sales totaled 748.22 million liters. Of that, 51.19 million liters were exported while 697.02 million liters remained in the domestic market.
Domestic sales of hydrous ethanol reached 442.45 million liters, a 2.98% increase compared to the same period in 2011. Overall anhydrous ethanol sales reached 254.57 million liters in the first half of May, compared to 329.94 million liters in the same period in 2011. The drop is mainly a result of the lower level of anhydrous ethanol blended with gasoline since last year, when the blend was reduced from 25% to 20%.
Bi-Weekly bulletin 2012 / 2013 Sugarcane Harvest in South-Central Brazil, position on May 16, 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