USDA attache increased its estimate for South Africa’s 2020/21 MY total corn crop by 14% to 16 million tons
28.01.2021 15:20 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) —
Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U. S. Department of Agriculture attache in The Pretoria (South Africa Republic of). Post increased its estimate for South Africa’s 2020/21 MY total corn crop by 14 percent to 16 million tons. This estimate is on the same level as the 2019/20 MY corn crop. Increased optimism for a bumper 2020/21 MY corn crop is driven by favorable weather conditions. South Africa had an exceptional start to the 2020/21 MY, with widespread rains during October and November that ensured corn producers completed plantings on time. Favorable weather conditions continued during December and January over most of the summer rainfall production region providing conducive growing conditions.
Post increased its previous estimate for the commercial demand for corn in South Africa for the 2019/20 MY from 11.4 million tons to 11.5 million tons. The increase is mainly driven by a rise in the demand for corn for human consumption. With South Africa’s relatively weak economy and high unemployment rate, many consumers, especially lower income consumers, are shifting more to white corn, in the form of a meal, as relatively inexpensive source of carbohydrates. Post also increased it
forecast for the commercial demand for corn in the 2020/21 MY to 11.7 million tons, driven mainly by an increase in the human consumption of corn.
South Africa will remain a net exporter of corn in the 2020/21 MY on an estimated second consecutive bumper corn crop that will see the estimated commercial production exceeding local consumption. Post predicts South Africa should be able to export around 3.0 million tons of corn in the 2020/21 MY. In addition, Post estimates South Africa will export about 2.5 million tons of corn in the 2019/20 MY. In the first 8 months of the 2019/20 MY, South Africa already exported 1.9 million tons of corn with South Korea, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Japan the major markets.
South Africa had an exceptional start to the 2020/21 MY, with widespread rains during October and November ensuring corn producers completed plantings on time. Favorable weather conditions continued during December and January over most of the summer rainfall production region providing conducive growing conditions. The medium term weather forecast to March from the South African Weather Services appears favorable for continues rainfall (La Niña weather pattern), adding to optimism for a bumper corn crop in the 2020/21 MY. Although, heavy rains carry a risk of crop damage, this risk appears limited at this stage.
Due to the promising start the summer rainfall season and the current favorable weather conditions, post increased its estimate for South Africa’s 2020/21 MY total corn crop (subsistence and commercial corn) by 14 percent to 16 million tons. This estimate is on the same level as the 2019/20 MY corn crop (also refer to Table 1). The South African Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) will release its first estimate of the 2020/21 MY summer rainfall crops at the end of February 2021.
In terms of the 2019/20 MY, on November 26, 2020, the CEC released its final production estimate for South Africa’s summer rainfall crops. The CEC estimated the South African commercial corn crop for the 2019/20 MY at 15.4 million tons on 2.6 million hectares at a national average yield of 5.9 tons per hectare. The 2019/20 MY corn crop is the second largest commercial corn crop ever produced in South Africa and 37 percent larger than the 2018/19 MY’s commercial crop of 11.3 million tons. The three main corn producing areas in South Africa, namely the Free State (45 percent), Mpumalanga (21 percent) and North West (18 percent) provinces produced collectively 84 percent of the 2019/20 MY’s corn crop.
The CEC kept the 2019/20 MY’s production estimate for the subsistence farming sector’s corn crop unchanged at 543,545 tons, marginally lower than the 549,180 tons produced in the 2018/19 MY. This means South Africa’s total corn crop for the 2019/20 MY is estimated at 16.0 million tons on 2.9 million hectares, which is 35 percent more than the 2018/19 MY’s corn crop of 11.8 million tons.
The following table details area planted, yield and production figures for commercial white corn and yellow corn as well as corn produced by subsistence farmers for the 2018/19 MY (actual), 2019/20 MY (estimate), and 2020/21 MY (forecast).