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- To build on the comments shared yesterday regarding the upcoming new production season, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release an update of its estimates for South Africa’s 2018/19 maize production tomorrow evening. Last month, the agency placed its preliminary estimate at 14.0 million tonnes, up by a percentage point from the 2017/18 production season.
- We did not attach much weight on that particular estimate as the weather outlook for the next season remains quite uncertain, with talks of a possible d El Niño, as well as the fact that planting has not even started in the country. We will probably view today’s data in the same light until there is clarity regarding the weather outlook.
- Some of the world’s leading weather forecasters, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University will release their updates of the El Niño Watch system this week. This will inform our judgment of USDA’s forecasts for South Africa’s 2018/19 maize production. The South African Weather Service will release its Seasonal Climate Watch later in the month.
- While all the aforementioned data points will assist in shaping the view for South Africa’s 2018/19 maize production, the key data point to keep an eye on is the farmers’ intentions to plant data which will be released by the local Crop Estimate Committee on 25 October 2018.
- From a global perspective, last month the USDA placed the world’s 2018/19 maize production at 1.06 billion tonnes. This is a percentage point higher than the International Grains Council’s estimate for the corresponding period and 3 percent higher than the previous season’s harvest. An update will be released tomorrow.
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