Aug 16, 2022

Corn Will Account for 15% of Brazil's Ethanol Production in 2022/23

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

Ethanol produced from corn continues its rapid expansion in Brazil. There are currently 18 facilities in Brazil that utilize corn to make ethanol and they are split between corn-only facilities and flex facilities that utilize both sugarcane and corn to make ethanol. The flex facilities have been retrofitted to utilize corn in between the sugarcane harvests. Sugarcane is not harvested in Brazil during the summer rainy season between about December and March.

In addition to more corn being used to produce ethanol, Brazil may now start exporting corn to China and the European Union, but the president of the National Corn Ethanol Union (Unem) is confident there will be enough corn to continue expanding corn ethanol production. Mato Grosso is Brazil's largest corn producing state and it is also the home of most of Brazil's corn ethanol facilities.

Over the last five years, the safrinha corn acreage in Mato Grosso increased 50% due in part the increased demand from ethanol producers. Corn used for ethanol production in Brazil increased from 7.98 million tons last year to 10.38 million tons this year.

Corn ethanol production during the 2022/23 growing season, which started on April 1st, is estimated at 4.5 billion liters which up 31% from the previous season. Corn ethanol will account for 15% of Brazil's ethanol production this year compared to 12.5% last year. By the 2030/31 growing season (8 seasons from now), corn ethanol production is expected to reach 9.6 billion liters or 22 to 23% of Brazil's total ethanol production.

The sugarcane growing season is considered from April 1 to March 31 because the sugarcane harvest starts in late March or early April.