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South Africa Cuts Corn-Output Estimate 4.9% on Drought Concern

March 26, 2013

South Africa, the continent’s biggest corn producer, reduced its forecast for output of the grain by 4.9 percent because of a lack of rain in some of the main growing regions, the Crop Estimates Committee said.

The nation may reap 11.8 million metric tons of corn this season, Marda Scheepers, spokeswoman for the committee, said by phone from Pretoria today. That is more than the median estimate of 11.6 million tons by seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey and is lower than the 12.4 million-ton prediction made by the committee last month.

“The expected size of the total crop has been decreased mainly as a result of dry conditions in the Free State and North West provinces, which had a negative impact on the expected crop,” Scheepers said.

Some of South Africa’s main growing regions, including the Free State, which produces 40 percent of the country’s corn, haven’t received sufficient rain for crops to grow, which analysts and traders from BVG (Pty) Ltd., Senwes Ltd. and Farmwise Grains (Pty) Ltd. said will lead to lower-than-average yields.

Prices for white corn, which is one of the nation’s staple foods, have risen 4.2 percent over the past 12 months on the South African Futures Exchange. The contact for July delivery of the grain climbed 1 percent to 2,400 rand ($259) a ton, while the yellow variety rose 1.1 percent to 2,333 rand a ton by noon in Johannesburg.

The committee cut its forecast for white-corn output by 6.6 percent to 6.31 million tons, and lowered the estimate for production of the yellow variety 2.9 percent to 5.44 million tons.

It reduced the sunflower-output prediction by 11 percent to 554,500 tons, and the cut soy-bean production estimate 6.9 percent to 851,000 tons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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