South Africa Raises Corn-Crop Estimate 0.6%; Reduces Wheat Area

South Africa raised its forecast for corn production this season 0.6 percent, the Crop Estimates Committee said. Wheat plantings will probably be 1 percent less than a year earlier, it said.

Local growers will probably harvest 13.03 million metric tons of corn, Marda Scheepers, a statistician at the Pretoria-based committee, said by phone today. That compares with last month’s 12.95 million-ton forecast and would be 11 percent more than the 11.7 million tons produced last year. The median prediction by five analysts was for a crop of 13 million tons.

The corn harvest would be the biggest since 1981, when South Africa produced 14.4 million tons, Scheepers said. Meal made from the white variety is used to make a staple food known as pap, while the yellow type is mainly fed to animals.

“There have been favorable production conditions this season in most summer regions,” Scheepers said.

The committee increased its estimate for output of white corn by 0.8 percent to 7.07 million tons and raised that for the yellow type by 0.3 percent to 5.96 million tons.

White corn for delivery in July fell 2.2 percent to 2,214 rand ($209) a ton by the close in Johannesburg trading. The yellow variety for delivery in the same month declined 0.3 percent to 2,194 rand a ton.

The sorghum-production estimate was increased 2.1 percent to 233,220 tons.

The committee kept its forecasts for production of sunflowers, soy, groundnut and drybeans unchanged from last month’s estimates.

Wheat Plantings

The nation will probably plant 500,500 hectares (1.2 million acres) with wheat this season, the committee said. That compares with the 514,000-hectare median prediction of three analysts in a Bloomberg survey and is less than the 505,500 hectares produced in the previous season.

“All provinces except the Western Cape showed a decrease in plantings, the main reason being that it is unprofitable,” Scheepers said.

The area for malting barley will probably rise 5.2 percent from a year earlier to 85,540 hectares, while that for canola may be 11 percent biggest at 80,000 hectares.

Wheat for delivery in May increased 0.2 percent to 3,903 rand a ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange.

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