Insight Focus

Thailand’s 2024/25 cane crush should reach 110 million tonnes, and many factors contributed to this. These include a record cane price, normalised fertiliser prices, successful area expansion and well-germinated cane that survived the dry season. The final results will be dictated by rainfall throughout the rest of the year.

We are very positive on the sugarcane area expansion given from what we observed from our trip in the Upper Northeast and Upper Central area.

Cane in Khon Kaen Province 

There is a significant growth of new planting area given the farmers have made a switch from rice in the low land (West of Upper Northeast) and cassava in the high land (East of the Upper Northeast) to sugarcane. This was largely down to a record cane price of THB 1,420/tonne. 

The cane in the low land clay soil area will provide more ratoons than the sandy soil area and a higher agricultural yield which should help to increase the amount of cane crush next year. The clay soil should produce three to five ratoons compared to one to two ratoons in the sandy soil.

Cane in Lopburi 

There is a similar story in the Upper Central area while Upper Northeast has more access to irrigation. 

New planted cane (left) vs ratoon cane (right) in irrigated area.

Despite there having been lots of newly planted cane when we visited the cane fields earlier in May, at the time we were getting very concerned about the dry weather, with January-April rainfall being one of the lowest for five years.

It was clear that some of the cane was struggling, with the rain shortage causing the sugarcane to be stunted, with a thin brown leaf. 

Damaged cane (late April) vs recovered cane (mid-May)

However, positively, the first rain has now finally arrived in mid-May and this rain brings a much-needed boost to a lot of the cane area and an opportunity for farmers start applying fertiliser.

We still need to monitor the amount rainfall throughout the rest of the year as Thailand expect a La Nina phenomenon to arrive in the second half of 2024. 

Despite the lower rainfall earlier in the year, we are very positive that there could be a rebound for the 2024/25 crop. It has been a very long time since we have seen so much new plant cane in the Northeast and especially so in rice growing areas, where the access to irrigation and better soil will support agricultural yields. 

Farmers have started to apply fertiliser 

Given the positives, we believe that Thailand will produce 110 million tonnes of cane next season, putting sugar production back above 12 million tonnes — the highest in five years. 

Nateetorn Petchphankul

Nate joined Czarnikow (Thailand) in 2020. He graduated from Kasetsart University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture. Given his education background, one of his tasks is to spend some time out in the field speaking to local farmers and producers to understand the crop situation in Thailand mainly sugarcane and its competitor crops. Nate is currently responsible for crop and sugar analysis of Thailand, provide crop outlook of Thailand on Czapp also support trading team on developing and growing business relationship with domestic clients.

More from this author