A Few Notes on SA Maize Production

Last night the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised its estimate for South Africa’s 2017/18 maize production up by 4 percent from last month to 13 million tonnes. This is justifiable given that weather conditions have improved significantly across the country, soil moisture has also improved. All of this bodes well for the new season maize crop.

Also worth highlighting is that the USDA estimate covers both commercial and non-commercial maize production, while the local Crop Estimates Committee’s (CEC) estimates only cover commercial production. Last week, the CEC placed South Africa’s 2017/18 maize production at 12.2 million tonnes. While not directly comparable to the USDA estimated because of the aforementioned reasons, it is 6 percentage lower than the USDA’s estimates.

Both these estimates are well below last season’s maize harvest of over 16 million tonnes, but higher than South Africa’s annual maize consumption of 10.5 million tonnes. All else being equal, South Africa’s maize market will be well supplied in the 2018/19 marketing year which starts on 01 May 2018 and ends on 30 April 2019.

Follow me on Twitter (@WandileSihlobo). E-mail: wandile@agbiz.co.za

Author: Wandile Sihlobo

Wandile Sihlobo is an agricultural economist and head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) in South Africa. He is a columnist for Business Day and Farmers Weekly magazine. Sihlobo is a member of the South African Agricultural Economics Association. He has previously served as an economist at Grain South Africa. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

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