South Africa is likely to miss forecasts for corn production this year because dry weather conditions have delayed plantings and possible frost at the end of the season may hurt the crop, the Agricultural Business Chamber said.
The chamber had estimated production for the 2018-19 season at 12.2 million tons, it said in an emailed statement Monday. Late summer rains in the Free State and North West provinces mean farmers planted after the optimal window to sow closed in mid-December, it said. By Jan. 11, 60 percent of the intended area for the North West was planted, while the figure was 70 percent for the Free State, while other regions managed to plant typical areas, the chamber said.
The dynamic suggests that the intended area of 2.44 million hectares for corn in the 2018-19 season could probably fall by about 19 percent to 1.98 million hectares, said Wandile Sihlobo, the head of agribusiness research at the chamber.
“This would be almost in line with the area planted during the drought period of 2015-16 production year. At that time, South African maize production amounted to 7.8 million tons, turning the country into a net importer, as annual maize consumption is roughly 10.8 million tons,” he said.