12 January 2012 20:36 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Brazil's ethanol production fell by 19% to 20.56bn litres in the 2011 crop year, pressured by lower yields and a smaller sugarcane harvest, sugarcane industry association Unica said on Thursday.
The figure refers to the sugarcane harvest in Brazil's centre-south region, which accounts for 90% of the country's ethanol production and where most mills are represented by Unica.
The centre-south sugarcane harvest runs from April to November/December.
Unica said centre-south sugarcane production in the 2011 harvest totalled 492.23m tonnes, an 11.6% drop from 556.94m tonnes in the previous year.
The reduction resulted mostly from bad weather for sugarcane crop development in the past two years.
Ethanol production also fell last year because more sugarcane was used for the production of sugar when compared with the previous harvest.
Unica figures showed 48.29% of the sugarcane processed in 2011 being used for sugar production, up from 44.93% in 2010, while sugarcane used to produce ethanol fell to 51.71% from 55.07% a year earlier.
Ethanol yields also declined, according to the Brazilian group, which said centre-south mills churned out 41.77 litres from each tonne of sugarcane, down from 45.58 litres/tonne a year before.
The latest figures from Unica are practically the final numbers for the 2011-2012 crop year, an official said, adding that only marginal adjustments are expected between now and the end of March.
Brazil also produces ethanol in its northeastern region, but the sugarcane harvest in the area runs from September to March.
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