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South Africa May Leave Corn Plantings and Wheat Output Unchanged

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa will probably leave its estimates for corn plantings and wheat output unchanged, according to a survey.

Farmers may sow 2.74 million hectares (6.77 million acres) with corn, according to the median prediction in a survey of six traders, matching the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee’s October forecast. Growers will probably reap 1.9 million metric tons of wheat this season, according to the median estimate in the survey, equal to the committee’s Dec. 20 forecast. The committee releases its forecasts at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 24.

White corn is a staple food in South Africa and yellow corn is mainly used as animal feed. The Free State province produces 40 percent of the country’s corn and Mpumalanga grows 21 percent. The nation is the continent’s largest producer of the grain.

South Africa is a net importer of wheat and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia. The nation is the region’s biggest importer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Farmers this season planted the smallest area with wheat in more than eight decades as prices declined, the committee said on July 24.

Estimates for wheat output ranged from 1.9 million tons and 1.906 million tons, while those for the corn-planting area were from 2.71 million hectares to 2.8 million hectares.

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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