May 01, 2023

Brazil's 2023/24 Sugarcane Harvest Off to a Fast Start

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

Brazil's 2023/24 sugarcane harvest officially started on April 1st and during the first half of April, 13.6 million tons of sugarcane were processed compared to 5.3 million tons in April of 2022 according to the Union of Sugarcane and Bioenergy Industries (UNICA). The sugarcane season in Brazil runs from April 1st to March 31st.

By April 15th, 165 facilities had started processing sugarcane and 11 were processing corn. During the same period last year, 84 facilities were processing sugarcane. In addition to a higher volume of sugarcane being processed, the Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR) are higher this year compared to last year. The ATR during the first half of April was 108.4 kg/ton compared to 98.7 kg/ton last April, or an increase of 9%.

Sugar production during the first half of April totaled 541,900 tons compared to 131,300 tons last April. Ethanol production during the first half of April in south-central Brazil totaled 767,900 million liters or an increase of 94% compared to last year. During the first half of April, 31% of Brazil's ethanol production came from corn or an increase of 43% compared to last year.

The percentage of Brazil's ethanol produced from corn will decline as more sugarcane mills start processing sugarcane. The advantage of corn ethanol facilities is that they can operate year-round whereas sugarcane facilities cease operations during the summer rainy season when sugarcane is not available, generally from December through March.