South Africa rains bolster late corn plantings, early corn suffers


Rain in the week ending March 27 is expected to bolster late planted corn crops across South Africa as it continues to recover from a drought, Grains SA said in a weekly update.

But early planted corn is showing signs of damage inflicted by the dryness it experienced for much of late 2017 and early 2018.

Most regions saw up to 70 mm of rain, with some receiving nearly twice as much.

Key regions in the north of the country show signs of better-than-average yields in some areas, particularly Mpumalanga, Central and North West Free State, according to the update.

However, early plantings in Limpopo and the North West bear the scars of water scarcity, with a clear delineation between early and later planted grains.

“Earlier plantings show a lot of damage due to drought stress, while later plantings benefit greatly from the rain,” the report notes.

For North West province, which borders Johannesburg, the crop is expected to be under-to-average yields, with just a quarter of the crop showing signs of promise, while in the Eastern Free State much of the crop is at the ripened stage and as such did not benefit from the rain.

The USDA expects South Africa to export around 1.5 million mt of corn in the 2017/18 marketing year, although the local estimates have put the export figure as high as 3.7 million mt, depending on how yields recover from the early dryness.

South Africa is expected to begin harvesting from around mid-April, with its overall crop size expected to be just over 12 million mt.


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