South Africa Set to Raise Wheat-Output Estimates, Survey Shows


South Africa will probably raise the estimate for wheat production this season by 1.2 percent as recent rainfalls improve yields and crop conditions, a survey showed. The country, which is the continent’s biggest corn producer, may maintain its forecast for the grain.

Local growers will probably produce 1.7 million metric tons of wheat this season, a median estimate of eight analysts in a Bloomberg survey showed. That’s more than the Crop Estimates Committee’s August prediction of 1.68 million tons, and would be 18 percent more than the 2015 season’s harvest. The range was 1.66 million tons to 1.75 million tons. The committee will release its prediction Sept. 27.

“Production conditions look excellent in the Western Cape, supporting yields," Karabo Takadi, an agricultural economist at Barclays Africa Group Ltd.’s agribusiness unit, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

While South Africa is the sub-Saharan region’s biggest producer of wheat after Ethiopia, it’s still a net importer of the grain, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Rains in the Western Cape, the largest growing province, are easing the driest conditions since records started in 1904.

Wheat futures have declined 20 percent since reaching a record on May 30 on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

Corn Estimate

The country will probably maintain corn-output estimate at 7.3 million tons, a median of nine analysts in the same survey showed. The range was 7.29 million tons and 8.5 million tons. This harvest would be 27 percent lower than in 2015.

The country may need to import 3.8 million tons of corn this year, 1.1 million tons of which will be of the white type that’s used to make a staple food, according to Grain SA, the largest lobby for grain and oilseed farmers. The nation this year became a net importer of the grain for the first time since 2008.


Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult