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August 28, 2014

Sugarcane Production Estimates in Brazil Continue to Move Lower

Sugarcane producers in southern Brazil are harvesting their 2014/15 sugarcane crop at an accelerated pace with an estimated 60% of the sugarcane crop already harvested. Members of the Union of Sugarcane Industries (Unica) anticipate that the 2014/15 harvest season will end at least 30 days earlier than last year. Normally the sugarcane harvest in southern Brazil ends in late November or early December, but this year many mills might be closed by the end of October and some mill operators think they might be done harvesting within 30 days. Two mill operators have indicated to Unica that they will end harvest activities by the end of August.

Up until the middle of August, there were 325 million tons of sugarcane harvested in southern Brazil which produces 90% of Brazil's sugarcane crop. This is 2.75% more than last year, but since the harvest is expected to end earlier than normal this year, the total crop is expected to be 546 million tons or 8.6% less than last year. Each successive estimate by Unica has resulted in a lower production for the sugarcane crop. During the 2013/14 harvest season, producers in southern Brazil harvested 595 million tons of sugarcane. The reduced tonnage is the result of the severe drought experienced in the sugarcane areas of southern Brazil during December and January.

Brazil's 2014/15 sugar production is expected to be 31.3 million tons or 8.6% less than last year and ethanol production is expected to be 24 billion liters or 6.1% less than last year.