The sixth South African crop estimate was released yesterday and South Africa is set to harvest its biggest maize yield ever – 15, 969 million tons.
The National Crop Estimate Committee (CEC) increased the expected maize crop with 2.16% from the previous estimate. This means this years’ commercial crop harvest is twice the size of the maize crop of 7 778 500 tons, harvested in 2016.
According to Agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo, the record harvest is “well-above the annual domestic consumption of 10.5 million tons”.
“This means South Africa could ideally export about 4 million tons this year. Unfortunately, low global demand might mean that only 2.2 million tons could be exported this year – leaving the country with large carry-over stock.”
The higher estimate is due to an increase in the expected maize production for white maize (revised up with 0.43% to 9.51 million tons) and yellow maize (revised up with 4.83% to 6.46 million tons).
The CEC left the soybean production estimate unchanged at 1.34 million tons from the previous estimate. The soybean harvest will be the biggest on record due to an increase in plantings and higher yields.
Estimates for sunflower seed, groundnut and sorghum was also left unchanged from the previous estimate.
South African farmers are still harvesting maize in summer rainfall areas. According to Sihlobo, the total maize deliveries for the 2017 harvesting season until the week ending on 21 July, is 11.85 million tons.
According to the CEC, there is also a significant increase in the harvest expected for the non-commercial maize sector.
Farmers are expected to harvest 730 000 tons this year