SOUTH AFRICA – South African farmers are expected to harvest 2.65% more maize in the 2022/2023 season compared with the previous season, according to the latest forecast the by Crop Estimates Committee (CEC).

According to CEC, the estimate for South Africa’s total corn crop (subsistence and commercial production) for the second summer crop is estimated at 15.88 million tonnes, up from the 15.47 million tonnes harvested last season.

In detail, the harvest is expected to consist of 8.34 million tonnes of white maize, used for human consumption, and 7.54 million tonnes of yellow maize, used mainly in animal feed.

Maize is the largest produced field crop and the most important source of carbohydrates in the southern African region.

South Africa grows both yellow corn and white corn. Much of South Africa’s yellow corn is used as feed and is mainly exported to Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea. 

White maize is used locally as food with the surplus exported to neighboring countries including Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique.

However, the current high input cost environment is deterring any bullish outlook in expanding corn area, despite record-high commodity prices, the USDA recently noted.

In the marketing year 2022/23, the USDA estimated that South Africa’s total corn crop would hit 15.6 million metric tons a drop from 16,951 million metric tonnes estimated for the 2021/2022 marketing year.

According to the USDA, the lowered outlook is due to the excessive rains on the eastern side of South Africa’s corn production area that delayed planting operations and caused damage to already-planted crops that could negatively impact yields.

However, despite the drop, the USDA reported that the country will still maintain its export status for both human consumption and animal feed.

Additionally, the USDA projects 2.5 million tonnes of South African corn exports in 2022-23, up from 2.2 million the previous marketing year.

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