Sep 28, 2018

Sugarcane harvesting ending early in South-Central Brazil

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

The 2018 sugarcane harvest in south-central Brazil is coming to a premature end due to dry weather resulting in lower sugarcane yields. According to a report from the Union of Sugarcane Industries in Brazil (Unica), nearly 40% of the sugar/ethanol mills in south-central Brazil will shut down operations in October, which is more than a month earlier than normal.

Sugarcane harvesting started in April and it progressed faster than normal due to dryer than normal weather and reduced sugarcane yields. In a normal year, sugarcane harvesting would normally start at the end of March and conclude sometime in December. Sugarcane is not harvested during the summer rainy season in, which is generally from December to March.

Unica reported that 38% of the mills will end processing in October and that only 12% would continue processing into December. On average, the processing will end about 27 days earlier than last year. In 2017, 36% of the mills continued processing into December.

The dry weather resulted in lower sugarcane yields compared to last year. During the first half of September, the sugarcane yields in south-central Brazil averaged 70.7 tons per hectare, which was 9% less than last year. During the first half of September, mills processed 38.5 million tons of sugarcane compared to 43.3 million tons in 2017 and they produced 2.14 million tons of sugar compared to 2.37 million tons in 2017.