Lower final maize estimate no surprise

The Crop Estimates Committee’s final estimated maize yield for South Africa’s 2010/11 summer production season is 10 608 400t.

The Crop Estimates Committee’s (CEC) final estimated maize yield for South Africa’s 2010/11 summer production season is 10 608 400t. This is a massive 435 600t less than February 2011’s estimate, and 2 206 600t less than the 2009/10 season.

The grain industry said this significant drop was no surprise. “It was mainly the weather that caused the drop in maize yields,” said Grain SA’s manager: industry services, Nico Hawkins.

“Some parts of the country had good planting, but difficult growing and harvesting conditions. The industry pretty much expected the final yields as they’ve been estimated.”

The CEC said that this season’s final production estimate for white maize was 6,18 million tons at an average yield of 4,36t/ha across the country. For yellow maize the final estimate was 4,42 million tons at 4,64t/ha.

“The production estimate for sunflower remained unchanged at 861 770t and the expected yield is 1,34t/ha,” added the CEC’s Rodney Dredge. “The production estimate for sorghum is 155 430t and the expected yield is 2,25t/ha.”

The final estimate for the groundnut crop was 68 295t at 1,24t/ha, and for dry beans this figure was 41 980t at a 1t/ha yield. Grain SA said that 1,4 million tons of maize had already left the country in the first 21 weeks of the current marketing season.

However, South Africa needs around 9 million tons for its own requirements. If the current rate of maize exports continues, it’s likely that early next year South Africa would have to start importing maize, especially into Western Cape to supply animal feed manufacturers.