S. Africa May Produce 4.4% More Corn Than 2011-12 Season

South Africa may reap 4.4 percent more corn this season according to the Crop Estimates Committee.

Farmers may produce 12.4 million metric tons,Baldwin Netshifhefhe, a spokesman for the committee, said by phone from Pretoria today. The forecasts is smaller than the 12.5 million-ton median estimate by six traders surveyed by Bloomberg and is more than the 11.8 million tons produced in the 2011-12 season. It includes a 10 percent increase in yellow-corn output to 5.6 million tons, while the harvest for the white variety will climbed 0.1 percent to 6.75 million tons.

“Production will rise because there was an increase in plantings and more yellow corn was planted in areas where there is irrigation,” raising yields, Netshifhefhe said.

South Africa, the largest corn producer on the continent, produced 12.8 million tons in 2010, the biggest crop since 1982. White corn is a staple food and yellow corn is mainly used as animal feed. The Free State province produces 40 percent of the country’s corn and Mpumalanga grows about 21 percent.

The nation will reap 1.92 million tons wheat this season, the committee said, matching its previous prediction and the median of the forecasts in a Feb. 20 survey. The nation is a net importer of wheat and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia.

Soybean output will surge 41 percent to 914,350 tons, while sunflower production will rise 20 percent to 624,210 tons, Netshifhefhe said. The sorghum harvest will be 34 percent bigger, while output dry beans and groundnuts will climb 16 percent and 9.5 percent respectively, he said.

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