South Africa's 2018/19 maize crop seen down 15% on drought

24th April 2019 By: Reuters

South Africa is likely to harvest 15% less maize in 2018/2019 compared with the previous season after drought delayed plantings, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

The government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which will provide its third production forecast for the 2018/2019 crop on Thursday, is seen pegging the harvest at 10.6-million tonnes, down from the 12.510-million tonnes in the 2017/2018 season, a poll of five traders and market analysts showed.

The 2019 harvest is expected to consist of 5.447-million tonnes of the food staple white maize and 5.266-million tonnes of yellow maize, which is used mainly in animal feed.

First National Bank's senior agricultural economist Paul Makube said although there were pockets of dryness in parts of the key maize-growing provinces of Free State and the North West, production conditions were generally favourable for most areas towards the end of the season.

Frost damage, which has not yet been reported, could still impact yields in parts of the Free State and the North West provinces, he said.