The USDA revised its estimate for SA’s 2018/19 maize production down by 4% from last month

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The USDA revised its estimate for SA’s 2018/19 maize production down by 4% from last month

  • Last night, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised its estimate for South Africa’s 2018/19 maize production down by 4 percent from last month to 13.0 million tonnes. While this is 6 percent lower than the 2017/18 production season, it is still above the long-term average production of about 12.5 million tonnes.
  • Although these estimates are plausible, the weather outlook for the next season remains quite uncertain, with talks of a possible El Niño which could potentially change this fairly optimistic picture. The planting process will commence next month. It is still unclear whether South African farmers will reduce the intentions to plant because of this forecast weather phenomenon or will plant a normal area of about 2.4 million hectares. We will have a better indication when the National Crop Estimate Committee releases its estimates on 25 October 2018.
  • Aside from the new season’s prospects, the 2017/18 season’s maize harvest process continued with minimal interruption in the past couple of weeks, albeit being behind schedule due to the late start of the season on the back of unfavourable weather conditions late last year into early January 2018. A large share of the crop has already been delivered to commercial silos. In the week of 07 September 2018, maize producer deliveries amounted to 138 744 tonnes, down by 60 percent from the previous week.
  • This placed South Africa’s 2018/19 maize marketing year producer deliveries at 10.8 million tonnes, which equates to 82 percent of the estimated commercial harvest of 13.2 million tonnes. This season the yields largely varied between average and above average, which is somewhat in line with market expectations. While the harvest process has largely been completed, additional maize will still be delivered in the coming months.

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