South Africa to reduce corn output forecast

South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of corn, will probably reduce its forecast for output of the crop by 0.5 per cent, according to a survey.

Bloomberg News reported that farmers may reap 11.34 million metric tons of the grain, according to a median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. This compares with the 11.4 million-ton forecast made by the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee on July 25. The range was 11.2 million tons and 11.5 million tons. The committee will release its prediction on August 27.

South Africa’s output of corn, also called maize, has been under strain because of insufficient rain in the main growing regions, including the Free State province, which produces about 40 per cent. Analysts and traders from BVG Limited, Senwes Limited and Farmwise Grains Limited said this will lead to lower-than-average yields.

“My estimate is based on poor yields caused as a result of that drought we experienced earlier,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader in Kroonstad in the Free State, said by phone.

The country produced 12.8 million tons in 2010, the biggest crop since 1982. Meal made from white corn, whose contract for December delivery gained 0.2 per cent to 2,349 rand ($230) a metric ton by the close in Johannesburg, is one of the country’s staple foods. The yellow variety, which was little changed at 2,199.20 rand a ton, is mainly used as animal feed.

Growers may produce 1.87 million tons of wheat, a median of three analysts’ estimates shows. This matches the final crop produced in the 2012 season, which was seven per cent less than in the 2011 period. The range was 1.87 million tons and two million tons.

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