The revised area estimate and second production forecast of summer crops, was recently released by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC).

Lees dit in Afrikaans.

Commercial maize

The size of the expected commercial maize crop has been set at 10,900 million tons, which is 2,30% or 244 900 tons more than the previous forecast of 10,655 million tons. The area estimate for maize is 2,301 million ha, while the expected yield is 4,74t/ha.

The estimated maize crop is 13% smaller than the 2018 crop. The three main maize producing areas, namely the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West provinces, are expected to produce 80% of the 2019 crop.

White maize estimates

The area estimate for white maize is 1,298 million ha and for yellow maize the area estimate is 1,002 million ha. The production forecast of white maize is 5,488 million tons, which is 3,81% or 201 500 tons more than the 5,287 million tons of the previous forecast. The yield for white maize is 4,23 t/ha. In the case of yellow maize the production forecast is 5,412 million tons, which is 0,81% or 43 400 tons more than the 5,369 million tons of the previous forecast. The yield for yellow maize is 5,40t/ha.

The yield per hectare for the Free State and North West provinces was based on scientific and objective results provided by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).

Sunflower seed

The production forecast for sunflower seed remained unchanged at 611 140 tons. The area estimate for sunflower seed is 515 350 hectares, while the expected yield is 1,19t/ha.

Other crops

The production forecast for soya beans also remained unchanged at 1,296 million tons. The estimated area planted to soya beans is 730 500 hectares and the expected yield is 1,77t/ha.

The expected groundnut crop remained unchanged at 22 705 tons and the expected yield is 1,13t/ha. The area estimate for groundnuts is 20 050 hectares. The production forecast for sorghum remained unchanged at 165 850 tons. The area estimate for sorghum is 50 500 hectares and the expected yield is 3,28t/ha.

In the case of dry beans, the production forecast remained unchanged at 72 450 tons. The area estimate of dry beans is 59 300 hectares, with an expected yield of 1,22t/ha.

Comment from Agbiz’s Sihlobo

According to Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz, the 2% increase in the maize estimate is underpinned by an improvement in the white maize production expectation, which is now set to reach 5,5 million tons, up by 4% from last month’s estimate on the back of expected better yields in the Free State.

He said in his comments that the country should have sufficient maize supplies to cover its annual consumption of about 10,8 million tons. Moreover, South Africa is likely to remain a net exporter of maize in the 2019/20 marketing year. The exports, however, could decline by half from the 2018/19 marketing year to about 1,1 million tons.

Sihlobo said that the upward revision in the harvest expectations will not likely lead to a notable decline in prices, which have in any case already moved off the higher levels seen at the beginning of the year. These price levels could prevail over the near-to-medium term which bodes well with South Africa’s subdued food price inflation that averaged at 2,3% year-on-year in April.

The fifth production forecast for summer field crops for 2019 will be released on 26 June 2019. – CEC report & Agbiz comments