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High rainfall favors sugarcane in the Ribeirão Preto region, but may impact sugar

Lack of sunlight can affect the plant's sweetness, which compromises production, leading mills to grind more cane to obtain the same amount of sugar.

The volume of rain recorded in Ribeirão Preto (SP) from the beginning of January until this Wednesday, 11, was 205 millimeters, according to Climatempo. The accumulated is 76.4% of the expected average for the entire month, which is 268 millimeters.

The scenario is promising for crops, mainly for sugarcane, according to the agronomist engineer at Coopercitrus in Sertãozinho (SP), Rodrigo Ortolan.

“Sugarcane needs 1,100 to 1,500 millimeters of rain, in the six, seven rainy months that we have here in the region, to develop well. So the amount of rain that is falling, despite being above average, does not cause problems for the development of sugarcane”, he says.

However, Ortolan claims that the sun is also essential because it collaborates with the sugarcane maturation process.

“Having rain, having water in the soil, it will develop a good amount of tons of sugarcane per hectare, it will produce well. And the greater the sugarcane production per hectare, up ahead, the rain ceasing, it starting the maturation process, the accumulation of sugar will be greater”, he reports.

Thus, at the same time that it favors crop productivity, excessive rainfall can result in less sweet sugarcane. In the sugar-energy sector, the content is called ATR, which means total recoverable sugar.

“We should have an increase in sugarcane per hectare in productivity. It means more sugarcane for the region, but we also have an issue which is the ATR”, says the corporate agricultural manager of a plant in Pontal (SP), Fernando José Prate. “If it rains more, it produces more sugarcane. But we can make less sugar. Sugarcane needs water and sun to transform it into energy for development and increased production,” he says.

Prate claims that the unit intends to grind around seven million tons of sugarcane in the next harvest, starting in April. If the heavy rains continue with little room for sunshine, the price of sugar in the market should rise.

According to the agricultural manager, to obtain the expected amount of sugar it is necessary to have more raw material.

“If we have these extensive rains in February and March with good sugarcane production, we will have less sugar production, which increases the cost for the production industry and has less sugar. You have the same cost to bring the sugarcane to the industrial unit, it does not decrease: transport, cutting, loading. However, you will bring less sugar in the same truck”, he says.



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