S. Africa Sees Record Corn Crop Even Bigger in Last Estimate

  • Harvest of 16.74 million metric tons expected to be reaped
  • Bumper crop follows season that had worst recorded drought

South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of corn, boosted its final estimate for this year’s record crop as the pace of deliveries continues to point to a bumper harvest.

Growers will probably reap 16.74 million metric tons of corn in the 2016-17 season, Lusani Ndou, a senior statistician at the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone on Thursday. That’s more than double the 7.78 million tons produced a year earlier, when the worst drought since records began more than a century ago reduced the harvest to a nine-year low.

The bumper crop has helped support the economy, which emerged from a recession in the second quarter. The agriculture sector surged an annualized 34 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, while slowing food-price growth has helped limit inflation this year.

The committee raised its corn-crop estimate by 2 percent from the 16.41 million tons it projected in August. The harvest is split between white and yellow corn.

Other forecasts from the CEC included:

  • White corn estimate was increased 2.5 percent to 9.89 million tons.
  • Yellow corn estimate was increased 1.4 percent to 6.85 million tons.
  • Wheat production estimated at 1.72 million tons, 10 percent lower than a year earlier. The committee predicted 1.6 million tons in August.
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