UNICA: Sugarcane mills continue to prioritize ethanol production

By Erin Voegele | October 17, 2014

UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has announced the south-central region of Brazil experienced a smaller than average crush during the second half of September. However, more than 60 percent of the cane that was processed went toward ethanol production.

The crush during the second half of the month was the lowest in four years. When compared to the first half of September, it was down 27.83 percent. When compared to the same period of last year, it was down 15.4 percent.

The region crushed 68.76 million tons of sugarcane during the month of September, down 10.9 percent from last year. UNICA Technical Director Antonio de Padua Rodriques attributed the reduction to rains that occurred at the end of the month, which disrupted harvest operations.

From the start of the season through the end of September, UNICA has reported the can crush totaled 441.54 million tons. Approximately 442.61 million tons was processed during the same period of last year.

Ethanol production totaled 1.57 billion liters (414.75 million gallons) during the second half of September, down slightly from the 1.6 billion liters produced during the same period of last year. That volume included 635.06 million liters of anhydrous ethanol and 932.29 million liters of hydrous ethanol. According to UNICA, hydrous ethanol is the only product among derivatives of sugarcane to show greater production during the period than last year.

While sugar production for the second half of September dropped 28.84 percent compared to the same period of 2013, the sugarcane crush dropped only 15.4 percent and ethanol production dropped only 2.18 percent.

Ethanol sales by south-central producing units totaled 2.09 billion liters in September, down from 2.25 billion liters last year. The drop is attributed to a reduction in volumes for export, which totaled only 97.68 million liters. Ethanol sales to the domestic market were up 2.43 percent, reaching 1.99 billion liters.

From April through September, ethanol sales totaled 12.07 billion liters, including 6.74 billion liters of hydrous ethanol and 5.33 billion liters of anhydrous ethanol. Of that volume, 11.33 were supplied to the Brazilian domestic market and 740.57 million liters were exported.

According to UNICA, 10 mills in the south-central region have already wrapped up the 2014-’15 season. Last year, only two mills had wrapped up the season by the same time.