Record crop: Sugar mills in Brazil to extend sugarcane crushing operations

Sao Paulo: Sugar mills in Brazil’s Centre-South region are gearing up for an extended crushing season this year, deviating from the traditional period, in response to a record crop and high sugar prices, according to mill owners and directors, reported Reuters.

Typically, Brazil’s sugar season concludes in November, coinciding with the onset of more frequent rains, which hinder field operations and leave minimal cane for harvesting. However, this year, with an expected crop of around 630 million metric tonnes and sugar prices at their highest level in 12 years, mills are poised to continue their operations for an extended duration.

Jose Sergio Ferrari Junior, a director at Usina Ferrari in Pirassununga, Sao Paulo state, revealed, “We usually stop everything by November 20, but this year we are planning to keep crushing until December 10 or 15.” Discussions among millers took place during Sao Paulo’s Sugar Dinner on Thursday evening.

Luis Antonio Arakaki, Chief Executive of Alcoeste Bioenergia mill, confirmed, “The (crushing) season will be extended the most possible,” emphasizing that mills and equipment are operating at their limits. Nevertheless, there will still be a substantial amount of sugarcane left in the fields, leading to an earlier start for next year’s harvest.

Antonio Cesar Salibe, the Executive President of the millers association UDOP, estimates that approximately 30 million tonnes of sugarcane will remain in the fields, awaiting harvest in March. Some mills are even contemplating continuing crushing operations into January, but this approach may not be efficient due to reduced sugar content resulting from rainy conditions.

Arakaki indicated that numerous mills are making plant adjustments to bolster sugar production capacity in 2024 and 2025. He anticipates that Centre-South mills could potentially increase their sugar production capacity by as much as 4 million tonnes in the upcoming season.


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