Nov 15, 2021

Brazil's 2021/22 Sugarcane Production Down 10.8%

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

From the start of the 2021/22 sugarcane harvest season in April until November 1st, Brazil has harvested 504.4 million tons of sugarcane, which is down 10.8% compared to the 565.7 million tons harvested during the same period last year. The reduction is being attributed to a historic drought in 2021 and a series of frosts in June and July resulting from some of the coldest temperatures in south-central Brazil in 25 years.

Brazil's Union of Sugarcane Industries (Unica) reported that there were 134 sugar mills still processing sugarcane as of November 1st. They reported that 128 mills had stopped processing sugarcane by November 1st and that most of the remaining mills will end processing by the end of November.

From the start of the harvest season until November 1st, the sugarcane yield has averaged 68.6 tons per hectare, which is down 15.1% compared to the 80.9 tons per hectare registered last year. Not only has the sugarcane tonnage been disappointing, the quality of the sugarcane has also suffered. Up until November 1st, the Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR) had averaged 143.2 kg/ton or a reduction of 1.12% compared to last year.

Brazil's sugar production up until November 1st was 31.2 million tons or a reduction of 14.2% compared to the 36.4 tons produced last year. Ethanol production has totaled 25.09 billion liters with anhydrous ethanol (blended into gasoline) up 17% and hydrous ethanol (sold as E100) down 19%. During this period, 1.94 billion liters of ethanol were produced from corn, or approximately 7.7% of the total.

The share of Brazil's ethanol produced from corn will increase as the sugarcane harvest winds down in December. The sugarcane harvest will not resume until sometime next March or April, but in the meantime, corn-based ethanol facilities will continue to operate. Additionally, there are numerous sugarcane mills that have been retrofitted to utilize corn to make ethanol during the time of the year when sugarcane is not available.

Corn is expected to account for as much as 11% of Brazil's annual ethanol production in 2021/22 and that percentage will continue to increase as more corn-based ethanol facilities come online.