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South African Yellow Corn Declines as Rains to Spur Plantings

South African yellow-corn futures dropped for a second day as rain fell in the second-biggest growing region, enabling planting for the next season.

Yellow-corn for delivery in March, the most active contract, declined 0.2 percent to 2,529 rand ($285) a metric ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

Parts of the drought-stricken North West province, the second-largest corn-growing region, had rainfall of 17 millimeters (0.7 inch) to 60 millimeters over the weekend, Johan van den Berg, an agricultural meteorologist at Santam Agriculture, a unit of the country’s largest short-term insurer, said by phone from Bloemfontein today. The South African Weather Service forecasts rainfall for Lichtenburg, located in the North West, until Dec. 5.

“The guys will be able to plant now,” Van den Berg said. “They can still plant until the end of the month. The optimal planting time is until around Dec. 15.”

Meal made from white corn is one of South Africa’s staple foods while the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed. The amount of land allocated to the grain in the 2012-13 season is expected to be 2.74 million hectares (6.77 million acres), or 1.3 percent higher than the previous season, the committee said on Oct. 26.

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