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USDA GAIN: Oilseeds, Cotton, Sugar, Grain and Feed

19 April 2012

USDA GAIN: Australia Sugar Annual 2012USDA GAIN: Australia Sugar Annual 2012

Following an almost decade-long cycle of extreme weather events, the Australian sugar cane industry is expected to continue to grow, supported by increased cane crush and improved commercial cane sugar (CCS) content. Total sugar production in 2012/13 is forecast to increase sharply to 4.5 MMT (IPS), the highest level of production since 2008/09. Sugar exports in 2012/13 are forecast to increase to 3.0 MMT.
USDA GAIN Report - Oilseeds, Cotton, Sugar, Grain and Feed


Sugar Cane for Centrifugal
Sugar, Centrifugal

Total Cane Area (cut for crushing)

Total cane area cut for crushing in 2012/13 is forecast at 380,000 hectares, the highest level since 2009/10. Improved profitability and climatic conditions are expected to see areas moved back into cane production from other land uses. A decline in the competitiveness in industries which compete for land area, such as planted timber, will likely make available more land for growing sugar cane.

The total area to be cut for crushing in 2011/12 is estimated at 366,000 hectares, in-line with industry estimates. The revised estimate is lower than the area previously reported by Post as the recovery from cyclones and severe flooding is taking longer than previously anticipated. Industry sources suggest that up to 60,000 hectares were taken out of production following the severe weather events of 2009/10 and 2010/11.

Australian Sugar Cane Area ('000 ha)

Area planted to sugar cane is anticipated to continue to increase beyond the forecast period and according to industry sources could reach as high as 400,000 hectares over the long-term. Despite this increase, this figure remains well below the record area of 448,000 hectares achieved in 2002/03.

Sugar Cane Production

Total sugar cane production for 2012/13 is forecast at 31.0 MMT, up significantly on the revised estimate for the previous year. A projected increase in harvested area coupled with improved cane yield is expected to support the increase.

Australian Sugar Cane Production (TMT)

Sugar cane production for 2011/12 is estimated at 28.0 MMT, down significantly from Post’s previous report. Lower than expected harvested area and a poorer cane yield per hectare, due to extreme weather events, caused a downward revision in total cane production.

Sugar Production

Total sugar production in 2012/13 is forecast to increase sharply to 4.5 MMT (IPS), roughly equal to around 4.34 MMT of sugar in typical raw form. If achieved, this would be considered the highest level of production since 2008/09. An increased cane crush coupled with improved commercial cane sugar (CCS) content is likely to see sugar production increase significantly.

Australian Sugar Production (TMT Actual Raw Sugar)

An average commercial cane sugar (CCS) content of 14.5 percent has been assumed, representing an increase on the 13.9 percent estimated for the previous year. A return to more normal weather conditions is expected to see CCS content improve significantly.

Total sugar production in 2011/12 has been revised downwards to 3.9 MMT. Extreme weather events, such as cyclones, greatly reduced the cane crush as well as reduced CCS content.


Total exports are forecast to increase to 3.0 MMT in 2012/13. Increased production and relatively strong export demand are expected to see exports increase. The strong Australian dollar is however, expected to present a constraint to higher exports and contribute to higher ending stocks.

Total exports for 2011/12 have been revised downwards slightly to 2.80 MMT, as lower than expected production has reduced the supply of sugar available for export.


Imports for 2012/13 are forecast at 165,000 MT. The estimate for total imports of sugar for 2011/12 has been revised upwards to 180,000 MT, which could well be a record level of imports. This increase is primarily driven by an increase in bulk sugar imports. Media reports purport that in 2011/12 bulk sugar was imported from Thailand in response to a temporary shortage. Despite this increase in imports, total imports continue to be small compared with total production.

April 2012

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