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S. African Farmers to Plant 2.74 Million Hectares Corn 1

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Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Farmers in South Africa, the continent’s largest corn producer, are expected to plant 1.3 percent more of the grain this season, the nation’s Crop Estimates Committee announced.

The country’s farmers will sow 2.74 million hectares (6.77 million acres) with corn, including 1.6 million with white corn and 1.14 million hectares with the yellow variety, compared with 2.69 million hectares planted in the previous season, Marda Scheepers, a spokeswoman for the committee, said by phone from Pretoria today. That compares with a 2.6 million-hectare median estimate of five traders surveyed by Bloomberg News Oct 18.

“This is because of better prices and crop-rotation practices by farmers,” Scheepers said.

The price of white corn, one of the nation’s staple foods, has risen 6.5 percent over the last year to 2,513.80 rand ($289) on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg, while yellow type, mainly used as animal feed, rose 12 percent to 2,548 rand.

The forecast for sorghum plantings was 64,650 hectares, 33 percent more than last year, while that for sunflower seeds was 525,000 hectares, a 16 percent increase. Farmers may plant 6.8 percent more land with soybeans, bringing the acreage allocated to the oilseed to 504,000 hectares, the committee said.

Land allocated to dry beans may increased 13 percent to 45,000 hectares while groundnuts, also known as peanuts, may fall 5.4 percent to 43,000 hectares, according to the committee.

The committee kept its forecast for wheat output unchanged at 1.76 million metric tons. Forecasts for production of Canola, also known as rapeseed, declined 3.2 percent to 64,010 tons, while malting barley was unchanged at 300,662 tons. Wheat, Canola and barley are mainly grown in the South African winter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at tmokhema@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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