Brazil’s 2009 Ethanol Production Volume Set to Break Records

The Brazilian sugar and alcohol sector will grind a record-breaking volume of sugarcane this year according to results of a second national crop survey, released last week by Conab. The results show that the total harvest is expected to reach 629.02 million tons, a 10% increase over 2008. The growth is a result of better distribution of rainfall and expanded planted area, which reached 7.74 million hectares.

While the current productivity index of about 81 tons per hectare will be maintained, a larger volume will be used for sugar production, representing approximately 45% of the total crop, almost 2% more than in the previous year.

The remaining crop (55%), or 348.56 million tons, is intended for ethanol production, which will generate 9.13 billion liters of anhydrous-type fuel and 18.68 billion liters of hydrated alcohol to be sold as fuel at the pumps. These figures represent a reduction of 9.30% and an increase of 12.41% respectively. In total, there will be 27.80 billion gallons of ethanol produced, or 4.22% more than the 26.68 billion gallons produced last season.

“Most Brazilian mills are capable of producing both ethanol and sugar, which gives the industry flexibility to opt for production of one or the other,” said Airton Camargo Conab’s Agribusiness Information Superintendent.

He said the favorable price on the international market has led industries to prefer the food production.

For the survey, Conab sent 50 technicians into to the field. In the period August 2-15, 2009 they interviewed representatives from 389 mills in all Brazilian states.

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