The National Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) again raised 2017’s expected maize harvest for South African farmers in its third crop estimate.
According to the estimate, a maize harvest of 14.5 million tons is expected for summer grain producing areas.
The crop estimate is 87% bigger than the 2016 maize harvest.
This means South African farmers can potentially obtain the highest maize yield ever at an average of 5.53 tons per hectare.
The white maize harvest was raised with 1.24% to 8.6 million tons and yellow maize with 1.84% to 5.9 million tons from the previous crop estimate released on 28 February.
According to Agbiz agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo, the higher revised maize crop estimate is against market expectations of a 1% decline.
South Africa is set to return to being a net exporter of maize in the 2017/’18 marketing year, which starts on 1 May.
BVG Commodities’ Johan Strauss says the harvest is slightly lower than the record harvest of 1981/’82.
Strauss says rainfall in the summer crop areas during March and April was very poor. This might have an effect on later crop estimates, especially for crops which were planted later.
According to Sihlobo, maize harvesting will start towards the end of May 2017.
The CEC raised the expected harvest for soybeans with 6% to 1.23 million tons from 1.16 million tons in the previous estimate.
The expected harvest for sunflower was revised down to 635 950 tons, a 4.75% decrease from the estimate released in February.
The harvest expectation for groundnut (86 600) and sorghum (153 480) remained the same from the previous harvest.
The dry bean crop estimate was raised with almost 3% to 67 150 tons from the previous estimate