4 May 2012
The amount of sugarcane processed by mills in the South-Central region of Brazil reached 4.74 million tons on April 15, a drop of 32.23% compared to the same period in the 2011/2012 harvest, when 6.99 million tons were crushed.
In the first half of April, 70 mills in the South-Central region had already launched their activities in the current harvest season, compared to the 113 units that were up and running during the same period in the previous harvest. By May 1st, preliminary assessments indicate that the number of active mills had picked up, reaching 126, still below the 212 units that were active on the same date in 2011.
According to the Technical Director at the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, “the number of mills operating and the volume of cane processed so far are within our projections.”
Of the total amount of cane crushed by April 15, 34.43% went to sugar production while the balance, 65.57%, was directed to ethanol production. Sugar production reached 152.08 million tons in mid-April, while ethanol production totalled 180.55 million liters, of which 161.87 million liters were hydrous and 18.68 million liters were anhydrous ethanol.
For both sugar and ethanol, there was a drop in the amount produced compared to the same period in 2011. Sugar production fell 28.95% while ethanol production decreased by 29.61%.
“For the second half of April, we expect that the rains that were observed in the end of the month will compromise sugarcane crushing, because several units mills were forced to interrupt the harvest. The rains might also have caused a loss in the quality of the raw material that will be harvested in the first half of May,” assessed Rodrigues.
According to Somar Meteorologia, a private company which provides meteorological services, the city of Piracicaba registered 112.30 millilitres (mm) of rain between April 17 and 30, with the total for the entire month reaching 143.60 mm. In the city of Araçatuba, rainfall totalled 163.40 mm in April, of which 59.60 mm were observed during the past week, between the 22nd and the 28th . Somar is forecasting dry weather between now and May 10.
Quality of raw material
The quantity of Total Recoverable Sugars (ATR) per ton of processed raw material reached 97.86 kg by April 15. The amount should be analysed with caution, because the calculation of this indicator, known as “ATR product”, reflects the volume of sugarcane processed as well as sugar and ethanol production, taking into consideration certain assumptions related to the industrial losses and to the fermentation and distillation efficiencies. Because of this method of calculation and considering that several units started their operations during the first half of April, there was a mismatch between the amount of crushed cane and the amount of product that has been produced. Specifically, the volume of sugarcane processed was not “matched” by the amount of sugar and ethanol produced in the period.
Therefore, the low value attributed to the “ATR product” for the first half of April does not reflect the month’s performance appropriately. In fact, measurements conducted at mills under “ATR cane” criteria, based on laboratory analysis of raw material samples collected when sugarcane is delivered to the mill, produced totals for the same period that are 10% to 15% higher than in the same period a year ago.
Ethanol sales by mills in the South-Central Region totalled 673.66 million liters in the first half of April, an increase of 36.23% compared to the same period during the previous harvest. The volume of hydrous ethanol shipped during the first 15 days of April reached 414.20 million liters. Of that. 17.22 million liters were exported and 396.98 million liters remained in the country for domestic use, up 91.11% compared to 2011.
Overall sales of anhydrous ethanol by April 15 reached 229.97 million liters, a slight drop compared to the 277.02 million liters observed in the same period of the 2011/2012 harvest. Anhydrous ethanol exports totalled 29.50 million liters in the first half of April.
The data released in this harvest update was compiled and analyzed by UNICA, with figures provided by the following syndicates and associations of producers from the South-Central states:
- ALCOPAR — Association of Producers of Ethanol and Sugar in the State of Paraná
- BIOSUL — Association of Bioenergy Producers of Mato Grosso do Sul
- SIAMIG — Syndicate of Ethanol Manufacturing Industry in the State of Minas Gerais
- SIFAEG — Syndicate of Ethanol Producers of the State of Goiás
- SINDAAF — Fluminense Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Producers
- SINDALCOOL — Syndicate of Sugar and Ethanol Industry of Mato Grosso
- SUDES — Society of Plants and Distilleries of the State of Espirito Santo