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South Africa Reduces Corn-Output Estimate by 1.1% for Season

South Africa, the continent’s biggest corn producer, reduced its forecast for production this season by 1.1 percent as dry weather curbs output, the Crop Estimates Committee said.

The country may reap 11.4 million metric tons of corn, Marda Scheepers, a spokeswoman for the committee, said by phone from Pretoria. That compares with a median estimate for 11.4 million tons by six analysts in a Bloomberg survey and last month’s forecast of 11.6 million tons.

“Dry conditions experience earlier in the season in the North West and Free State provinces impacted negatively on maize yields,” Scheepers said. Corn is also known as maize.

Some of South Africa’s main growing regions, including the Free State province, which produces 40 percent of the country’s corn, hadn’t received sufficient rain for crops to grow during the planting season, which analysts and traders from BVG (Pty) Ltd., Senwes Ltd. and Farmwise Grains (Pty) Ltd. said will lead to lower-than-average yields.

South Africa produced 11.8 million tons last year, more than the 10.4 million tons harvested in the 2011 season and less than 2010’s 12.8 million tons, the biggest crop since 1982.

White corn for delivery in July, the most active contract, gained 1.6 percent to 2,192 rand ($228) a ton, the highest since May 3, by the close in Johannesburg. The yellow variety for delivery in July rose 1 percent to 2,168 rand a ton.

The committee kept the sunflower-production forecast at 554,500 tons, while the prediction for soybean output was trimmed 3 percent to 825,600 tons, the committee said. The sorghum-production estimate remained at 168,114 tons and that for groundnut output was cut 13 percent to 50,600 tons.

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