Prospects for Increasing Sugarcane and Bioethanol Production on Existing Crop Area in Brazil

Fábio R. Marin, Geraldo B. Martha, Kenneth G. Cassman, Patricio Grassini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


This article assesses sugarcane yield gaps (YG) in Brazil to determine the degree to which production can be increased without land expansion. In our scenario assessments, we evaluated how much of the projected sugarcane demand to 2024 (for both sugar and bioethanol) can be satisfied through YG closure. The current national average yield is 62% of yield potential estimated for rainfed conditions (i.e., a YG of 38%). Continuing the historical rate of yield gain is not sufficient to meet the projected demand without an area expansion by 5% and 45% for low- and high-demand scenarios, respectively. Closing the exploitable YG to 80% of potential yield would meet future sugarcane demand, with an 18% reduction in sugarcane area for the low-demand scenario or a 13% expansion for the high-demand scenario. A focus on accelerating yield gains to close current exploitable YG is a high priority for meeting future demand while minimizing pressure on additional land requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 30 2016


  • ethanol
  • intensification
  • land-use change
  • sugarcane
  • yield gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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