Grain planting and production forecasts have been trimmed for the 2006/07 season after poor rains and high temperatures limited many farmers’ plantings.
According to figures released by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), the revised area estimate for commercial white and yellow maize is 2,597 million hectares, almost 100 000ha less than the January estimate of 2,683 million hectares.
The first production estimate for the 2006/07 final crop of commercial maize is estimated to be 7,757 million tons. The most dramatic downward forecasts were in Mpumalanga and North West, where revised plantings of white and yellow maize dropped from 550 000ha in January to 470 000ha and 836 000ha to 770 000ha respectively.
The final crop is estimated to be 1,562 million tons in Mpumalanga and 1,694 million tons in North West. “The prospects are not looking good for maize. The weather is not great, although we’ve had a few thundershowers lately, which might help a bit. think next month’s estimates will be even lower, though in reality, at harvest time, think we will get close to these recent figures of 7,8 million tons on the final crop,” said Russel du Preez, managing director of GrainVest.
Wheat estimates are also down, with the final crop estimated at 2,122 million tons – 1,9% or 40 250 tons less than the previous forecast of 2,162 million tons. The area estimate for wheat is 764 800ha. – Gwenda van Zyl Visit www.nda.agric.za/ to download the full CEC report. •