UNICA reports continued delays in sugarcane harvest

By Erin Voegele | June 15, 2017

UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has announced 31.59 million tons of sugarcane were processed by mills in the south-central region of the country during the second half of May, down 2.83 percent when compared to the same period of last year.

From the beginning of the current season through June 1, mills in the region have processed 111.84 million tons of sugarcane, down from 141.37 million tons processed during the same period of the previous harvest. The reduction is attributed to a delay in the start of the 2017-’18 harvest season and climatic conditions that have interrupted the expected harvest rate.

The total recoverable sugars content of the cane reached an average of 118.36 kilograms per ton from the beginning of the current season through the end of May, down from 122.31 kilograms during the same period of last year.

As of June 1, UNICA said 256 production units were operating in the south-central region of Brazil, down from 264 million during the same period of 2016. An additional 10 units were expected to begin harvest operations during the first half of June.

Sugar production reached 5.69 million tons from the start of the season through June 1, down 18.75 percent when compared to the same period of last year. During the second half of May, mills in the region produced 1.75 million tons of sugar, up from 1.69 million tons during the same period of 2016.

Since the beginning of the current harvest season through June 1, ethanol production reached 4.3 billion liters (1.14 billion gallons), including 1.69 billion liters of anhydrous ethanol and 2.61 million liters of hydrous ethanol. During the second half of May, ethanol production reached 1.2 billion liters, compared to 1.45 billion liters during the same period of 2016.

Plants in the south-central region of Brazil sold 1.14 billion liters of ethanol during the second half of May, with 82.59 million liters destined for export and 1.06 billion liters sold into the domestic market. In the domestic market, sales of anhydrous ethanol reached 454.93 million liters, up from 430.92 million liters during the same period of 2016. Domestic sales of hydrous ethanol reached 600.25 million liters during the final two weeks of May, up 7.09 percent when compared to the first half of the month.