BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand, the worlds second biggest sugar exporter after Brazil, expected record sugarcane output at 80 million tonnes in the next crop year starting November 2010 as farmers capitalise on high prices. The forecast was within expectations and was unlikely to cause a stir in the physical market, with dealers focused on the progress of the current sugar cane crop estimated by the Office of Cane and Sugar Board at 71.6 million tonnes. We may produce up to 80 million tonnes of cane as high prices encourage farmers to expand their plantation, Prasert Tapaneeyangkul, secretary general of the OCSB, told Reuters by telephone. This is our final and official forecast, which is very close to the previous one, said Prasert, referring to a forecast in August projecting Thailand would produce 76 million tonnes of cane, equivalent to 7.60 million tonnes of sugar. The 80 million tonnes of sugar cane will produce 8 million tonnes of sugar in the 2010/2011 crop year, higher than 7.64 million tonnes of sugar forecast in the current year. Thai sugar crop year runs from November through April. Thailand, which mainly sells sugar to the Middle East, Indonesia, South Korea and Pakistan, emerged as main player in the sugar market this year as second-largest producer India turned into a net importer following a drop in local production. The 80 million tonnes of cane is quite feasible as I heard farmers have switched from cassava and rice to sugar cane, said Komkrish Nagalaksana, vice president of Mitr Phol Sugar Corp. Ltd, Thailands biggest miller. The OCSB forecast lower cane production but slightly higher sugar output for 2009/10 because of improved sugar content. Commercial cane sugar (CCS) measures sugar content in cane, with a higher CCS indicating better sugar yield. Speculative buying in anticipation of strong demand from India propelled New York sugar futures to multi-year highs at 24.85 cents per pound in early September and sent refined sugar futures to an all time high of $603.6 a tonne before profit taking kicked in. New Yorks active March raw sugar contract went up 0.39 cent to settle at 23.61 cents per lb on Tuesday, while Londons December white sugar contract gained $6.20 to finish at $579.20 per tonne. I dont think Thai production will have any impact on the market. I mean, theres always scepticism because forecasts from Thailand have never been accurate and the crop is still sometime away, said a physical dealer in Singapore. When Brazil talks about new crushing capacity coming on, youll be confident cane crush for that season will be higher. In Thailand, youll never know until they really plant the cane, he said. Millers and traders expected sugar prices to remain firm even though Thailand would produce more to be sold on world markets, forecasting prices would stay above 20 cents until mid-2010. Well have to look at the world sugar situation again by mid-2010 when Brazil starts crushing. It may produce a bumper crop next year that could affect prices, said Chalush Chinthammithe of Khon Kaen Sugar Industry.