South African maize farmers are expected to harvest 7% more of the staple crop during the 2020/2021 season compared with the previous season, as yields are boosted by favourable weather, a Reuters survey has revealed.
South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to forecast the 2020/2021 maize crop at 16.413 million tonnes, up from the 15.300 million tonnes harvested last season, the average estimate of five traders and analysts showed.
The forecast is 2% higher than the CEC's April forecast of 16.095 million tonnes.
"Beneficial temperatures and growing conditions over the past few months sustained maturing and filling maize plants," said Riddermark Capital Grain Option Market Trader Warren Langridge.
With harvesting already taking place in some parts of the country, analysts are hopeful the 2020/2021 season will see very high yields.
Second-Largest Maize Crop
"Our observations and feedback from farmers on the ground remain encouraging that we could have the second-largest maize crop on record in the 2020/2021 production season," said Agricultural Business Chamber chief economist Wandile Sihlobo.
The survey expects the crop to consist of around 9.131 million tonnes of white maize, used mainly for human consumption, and around 7.287 million tonnes of yellow maize, used mainly for animal feed.
The CEC will release its fourth production forecast for 2021 summer crops on 27 May.
Last year, the CEC forecast maize output of 15.46 million tonnes, up from 11.275 million tonnes harvested in the previous year, on the back of favourable weather conditions.