Maize crop forecast nearly a third lower

South Africa’s maize crop will probably be 32% smaller at 9,66 million tons than last year’s harvest, according to the Crop Estimates Committee’s first forecast for the season.

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Large parts of the country’s summer-grain production region, notably North West and the eastern and northern Free State, have experienced crippling dry conditions amid extreme temperatures since the start of the year.

“The production forecast of white maize is 4,696 million tons, which is 39,09% less than the 7,710 million tons of last season,” the committee said in its report. “The yield for white maize is 3,22 t/ha.”

Farmers reaped the second-highest SA maize crop on record last year at 14,25 million tons. It is expected that the yellow maize harvest will slump by 24% to 4,9 million tons, the committee said.

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The sunflower seed crop is expected to decline by 31% to 574 300t this year from 832 000t last year. The soya bean harvest is forecast to drop by 1% to 938 350t, the committee said.