The expected crop increase was due to rainfall in some of the main soya bean production areas towards the end of March, said Wandile Sihlobo, economist for industry services with Grain SA.
He said the area planted to soybeans was 36% higher than that of 2014, and therefore the crop increase estimate did not come as a surprise.
The Crop Estimates Committee’s latest summer crops forecast anticipated a commercial maize crop of 9,75 million tons. This was 84 750t less than the previous forecast of 9,84 million tons.
The area estimate for maize remained unchanged at 2,653 million hectares, while the expected yield was 3,68t/ha. The area forecast for white and yellow maizewas 1,448 million and 1,205 million hectares respectively.
White maize production was expected to total about 4,65 million tons, 1,73% less than the previous forecast, with an average yield of 3,21t/ha.
Yellow maize production also came in slightly lower at 5,106 million tons, with an average yield of 4,24t/ha.
Sunflower seed production remained unchanged at 612 400 tons, the area estimate was 576 000ha and the expected yield 1,06t/ha.
Groundnuts came in lower at 62 855t, against the previous forecast of 66 725t.
The sorghum forecast decreased to 114 700t and dry bean production was adjusted downwards to 73 390t.
Petru Fourie, agricultural economist for inputs and production at Grain SA, said the forecast was in line with what the industry body expected.
“This is one of the most difficult years to make a crop calculation because it has been a volatile season, she said.