Crop Explorer - World Agricultural Production (WAP) Briefs - Southern Africa


Mar 9 2022 | Zimbabwe Wheat: Irrigated Area Increase from Last Year Provides Bumper Harvest
Zimbabwe wheat production for marketing year (MY) 2021/22 is estimated at 210,000 metric tons (mt), down 55,000 mt (21 percent) from last month and 3,000 mt (1 percent) from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 50,000 hectares (ha), down 5,000 ha (9 percent) from last month, but up 6,000 ha (14 percent) from last year. Yield is estimated at 4.20 metric tons per hectare, down 13 percent from last month and last year, and 3 percent below the 5-year average. Zimbabwe wheat is nearly 100 percent irrigated and grown by commercial farmers who deliver their harvest to Zimbabwe’s Grain Marketing Board (GMB). (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Mar 9 2022 | South Africa Corn: Favorable Production Prospects from Beneficial La Niña Rains
South Africa marketing year 2021/22 corn production is forecast at 16.3 million metric tons (mmt), down 0.7 mmt (4 percent) from last month and last year. The USDA production forecast includes output from both developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 97 percent of the total crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.0 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month, but down 0.1 mha (4 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 5.43 metric tons per hectare, down 4 percent from last month, nearly the same as last year, and up 3 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Feb 9 2022 | Tanzania Cotton: Reported Lint Production Greater Than Last Year
Tanzania marketing year (MY) 2021/22 cotton production is estimated at 255,000 480-lb bales, down 345,000 bales (58 percent) from last month, but up 40,000 bales (19 percent) from last year. Yield is estimated at 231 kilograms of lint per hectare, up 6 percent from last month, down 19 percent from last year, but up 8 percent from the 5-year average. Harvested cotton area is estimated at 240,000 hectares, down 360,000 hectares (60 percent) from last month, but up 75,000 hectares (45 percent) from last year. According to harvest reports from the Tanzania Cotton Board (TCB), productivity is constrained from low utilization of inputs due to lack of adequate credit, inadequate extension services, low adoption of new technologies, and low level of mechanization. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Oct 12 2021 | Madagascar Rice: Average Production Despite Extreme Drought in the South
Madagascar’s marketing year 2021/22 milled rice production is estimated at 2.6 million metric tons, down 5 percent from last year but slightly above the 5-year average output. Harvested area is estimated at 1.4 million hectares, unchanged from last month and last year. Yield is estimated at 2.86 metric tons per hectare, down 5 percent from last year but 2 percent above the 5-year average. The national output is estimated slightly above average due to the northern half of the country receiving average to above-average seasonal rainfall, while the southern half of the country experienced delayed rains and an extreme drought during planting. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Aug 12 2021 | Tanzania Cotton: Record Production Expected; Up 186 Percent from Last Year
Tanzania marketing year (MY) 2021/22 cotton production is estimated at a record 600,000 480- lb bales, up 100,000 bales (20 percent) from last month and 390,000 bales (186 percent) from last year. Cotton area is estimated at 600,000 hectares, matching the record of MY 2019/20; it is also up 50,000 hectares (9 percent) from last month and 150,000 hectares (33 percent) from last year. Yield is estimated at 218 kilograms per hectare, up 10 percent from last month and 47 percent from the 5-year average. Greater amounts of fertilizer and pesticides were available to farmers this year, which helped to increase area, boost yields, and reduce pest damage. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Jun 10 2021 | Tanzania Cotton: Favorable Rains and Inputs Improve Production Prospects
Tanzania MY 2021/22 cotton production is forecast at 500,000 480-lb bales, up 125,000 bales (33 percent) from last month and last year. Cotton area is forecast at 550,000 hectares, up 100,000 hectares (22 percent) from last month and last year. Yield is forecast at 198 kilograms per hectare, up 9 percent from last month and last year, and 16 percent above the 5-year average. Tanzanian farmers grow conventional cotton and annual production is highly dependent on the availability of inputs for certified seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. Farmers received greater amounts of inputs this year compared to last year which helped to increase MY 2021/22 area, boost yields, and reduce pest damage. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

May 12 2021 | Zimbabwe Corn: Bumper MY 2021/22 Harvest from Above Average La Niña Rains
Zimbabwe’s marketing year (MY) 2021/22 corn production is estimated at 2.7 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.8 mmt (199 percent) from last year. Area is estimated at a record 1.95 million hectares (mha), up 0.37 mha (23 percent) from last year. Yield is estimated at 1.39 metric tons per hectare, up 143 percent from last year and up 81 percent from the 5-year average. Yields were the highest since MY 2000/01 due to above average and well-distributed rains during the 2020/21 growing season. Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture refers to the current year as the 2020/21 crop season, whereas the USDA refers to that same year as the MY 2021/22. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Apr 9 2021 | Zimbabwe Wheat: Bumper Harvest from Increased Area
Zimbabwe wheat production for marketing year 2020/21 is estimated at 180,000 metric tons (mt), down 70,000 mt (28 percent) from last month but up 85,000 mt (89 percent) from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 40,000 hectares (ha), down 23,000 ha (37 percent) from last month but up 16,000 ha (67 percent) from last year. Yield is estimated at 4.5 metric tons per hectare, up 7 percent from the 5-year average. All wheat in Zimbabwe is planted under irrigation. Harvested area and yield were above average this year because contract irrigation growers could purchase inputs such as wheat seed and fertilizers with commercial bank loans guaranteed by the government. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Mar 9 2021 | South Africa Corn: Production Prospects Improve from Abundant Rains
South Africa’s 2020/21 corn production is forecast at 17.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 0.5 mmt (3 percent) from last month and 1.2 mmt (7 percent) from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 97 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 3.1 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month but up 0.2 mha (7 percent) from last year. Corn area planted was the largest since the 2014/15 growing season. Yield is forecast at 5.48 metric tons per hectare, up 1 percent from last year and up 12 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Feb 9 2021 | South Africa Corn: Favorable Production Prospects for Second Consecutive Year
South Africa’s 2020/21 corn production is forecast at 16.5 million metric tons (mmt), up 0.5 mmt (3 percent) from last month and last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 97 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 3.1 million hectares (mha), up 0.1 mha (3 percent) from last month and up 0.19 mha (7 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 5.32 metric tons per hectare, down 3 percent from last year but up 8 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Nov 10 2020 | South Africa Corn: Corn Planting Begins
South Africa’s 2020/21 corn production is forecast at 16.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 2.0 mmt (14 percent) from last month and unchanged from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 96 percent of the total crop. Area is forecast at 3.0 million hectares (mha), up 0.3 mha (11 percent) from last month and up 90,000 hectares (3 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 5.33 metric tons per hectare, slightly below the 10-year trend yield (1 percent), but up 8 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Sep 11 2020 | South Africa Wheat: Record Yield Forecast from Favorable Rains in Western Cape
South Africa's 2020/21 wheat production is forecast at 1.97 million metric tons (mmt), up 190,000 tons from last month (11 percent) and up 430,000 tons (28 percent) from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 520,000 hectares, unchanged from last month but down 20,000 hectares (4 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at a record 3.78 tons per hectare due to favorable rains in Western Cape province, where over 90 percent of rainfed wheat is grown. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Aug 12 2020 | Madagascar Rice: Favorable Production for Third Consecutive Year
Madagascar’s 2020/21 milled rice production is estimated at 2.6 million metric tons, down 5 percent from last month and down 5 percent from last year’s bumper crop. Area is estimated at 1.5 million hectares, unchanged from last year. Yield is estimated at 2.67 metric tons per hectare, down 5 percent from last year but up 4 percent from the 5-year average. Three consecutive years of favorable output helped Madagascar to recover from the 2017 drought, when rice production was reduced to the lowest level since 2004. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Jun 11 2020 | Tanzania Cotton: Bumper Harvest Expected from Abundant Rains
Tanzania 2020/21 cotton production is forecast at 550,000 480-lb bales, up 110,000 bales from last month but down 45,000 bales from last year’s record crop. Cotton area is forecast at 580,000 hectares, up 140,000 hectares from last month but down 20,000 hectares from last year’s record. Yield is forecast at 206 kilograms per hectare which is 28 percent above the 5-year average yield due to above-average rainfall during the entire growing season. The six-month growing period from planting through crop maturity (December 2019 through May 2020) was the wettest six-month period since 1981. The abundant moisture is reflected in the Percent of Average Seasonal Greenness for May. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Mar 10 2020 | South Africa Corn: Abundant Rains Boost Crop Prospects
South Africa’s 2019/20 corn production is forecast at 16.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.5 mmt (10 percent) from last month and 4.2 mmt (35 percent) from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 97 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 3.0 million hectares (mha), up 0.1 mha (3 percent) from last month and up 0.4 mha (16 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 5.33 metric tons per hectare, up 7 percent from last month and up 18 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Feb 11 2020 | South Africa Corn: Favorable Rains Improve Crop Prospects
South Africa’s 2019/20 corn production is forecast at 14.5 million metric tons (mmt), up 0.5 mmt (4 percent) from last month and 2.7 mmt (23 percent) from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 97 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 2.9 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month and up 0.3 mha (12 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 5.00 metric tons per hectare, up 4 percent from last month, up 10 percent from last year, and up 11 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@usda.gov.)

Jun 11 2019 | Madagascar Rice: Favorable Production for Two Consecutive Years
Madagascar’s 2019/20 milled rice production is estimated at 2.7 million metric tons, up 8 percent from last month, up 11 percent from the 5-year average, but down 2 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 1.5 million hectares, up 2 percent from the 5-year average and unchanged from last year. Yield is estimated at 2.80 metric tons per hectare, up 11 percent from the 5-year average, but down 2 percent from last year. (For more information, contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Apr 9 2019 | South Africa Corn: Drought Will Lower Production from Last Year
South Africa’s 2018/19 corn production is forecast at 11.0 million metric tons (mmt), unchanged from last month and down 2.1 mmt (16 percent) from last year. Area is estimated at 2.4 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month and down 0.23 mha (9 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.58 metric tons per hectare, unchanged from last month, down 8 percent from last year and down slightly from the 5-year average. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 95 percent of the total crop. (For additional information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Mar 8 2019 | South Africa Corn: Drought Reduces Production Forecast
South Africa’s 2018/19 corn production is forecast at 11.0 million metric tons (mmt), down 0.5 mmt (4 percent) from last month and down 2.1 mmt (16 percent) from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 95 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 2.4 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month and down 0.23 mha (9 percent) from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.58 metric tons per hectare, down 4 percent from last month, down 8 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Feb 8 2019 | South Africa Corn: Drought Reduces Production Forecast
South Africa’s 2018/19 corn production is forecast at 11.5 million metric tons (mmt), down 0.5 mmt or 4 percent from December and down 2.0 mmt (15 percent) from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 95 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 2.4 million hectares (mha), unchanged from December and down 0.23 mha or 9 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.8 metric tons per hectare, down 4 percent from December and down 7 percent from last year. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Dec 11 2018 | South Africa Corn: Planting Continues Under Drought Conditions
South Africa’s 2018/19 corn production is forecast at 12.0 million metric tons (mmt), down 1 million tons from last month (8 percent) and down 1.5 mmt (11 percent) from last year. The USDA forecast includes output from both the developing and commercial sectors, with the commercial sector accounting for approximately 95 percent of the total crop. Area is estimated at 2.4 million hectares (mha), down 0.2 mha from last month (8 percent) and down 0.23 mha from last year (9 percent). Planting is currently underway but behind schedule due to below-average rainfall from October through early December. Additional rainfall is needed in December to improve soil moisture conditions for corn germination and establishment. Planting is expected to conclude by mid-January. Yield is forecast at 5.0 metric tons per hectare, slightly above the 10-year trend (2 percent) and it assumes normal weather for the remainder of the growing season. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Oct 11 2018 | Madagascar Rice: Estimated Production Increases Due to Favorable Weather
Madagascar’s 2018/19 milled rice production is estimated at 2.75 million metric tons (milledbasis), up 19 percent from last month, up 39 percent from last year, and up 18 percent from the 5-year average. Area is estimated at 1.5 million hectares, up 5 percent from both last year and the 5-year average. Yield is estimated at 2.87 metric tons per hectare, up 32 percent from last year and up 13 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Sep 12 2018 | Tanzania Cotton: Production Nearly Doubles from Previous Year
Tanzania cotton production for 2018/19 is estimated at 425,000 480-lb bales, up 25,000 bales (6 percent) from last month, and up 195,000 bales (85 percent) from last year. Harvested area is estimated at 500,000 hectares, unchanged from last month but up 150,000 hectares (43 percent) from last year. Yield is estimated at 185 kilograms per hectare, up 6 percent from last month and up 29 percent from last year. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov)

Aug 10 2018 | Zambia Corn: Drought Reduces Estimated Output by 34 Percent from Last Year
Zambia’s 2018/19 corn production is estimated at 2.39 million metric tons (mmt), down 1.3 mmt or 34 percent from last year’s record crop, and down 20 percent from the 5-year average. Area is estimated at 1.39 million hectares (mha), down 3 percent from last year, but up 23 percent from the 5-year average. Yield is estimated at 1.72 metric tons per hectare (t/ha), down 32 percent from last year’s yield and down 36 percent from the 5-year average yield. Zambia corn is planted from mid-October through mid-December and harvested from late April through August. (For more information, contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Apr 10 2018 | South Africa Corn: Abundant February and March Rains Improve Crop Prospects
South Africa’s 2017/18 corn production is forecast at 13.2 million metric tons (mmt), up 0.2 mmt or 2 percent from last month, down 4.4 mmt or 25 percent from last year’s record crop, and up 0.5 mmt or 4 percent from the 5-year average. Area is estimated at 2.7 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month and down 0.3 mha from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.89 metric tons per hectare, up 2 percent from last month but down 17 percent from last year’s record yield. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Mar 8 2018 | South Africa Corn: Second Consecutive Year with Above-Average Output
South Africa’s 2017/18 corn production is forecast at 13.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 0.5 mmt or 4 percent from last month, down 4.5 mmt or 26 percent from last year’s record crop, and up 0.3 mmt or 2 percent from the 5-year average. Area is estimated at 2.7 million hectares (mha), down 0.1 mha from last month and down 0.3 mha from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.81 metric tons per hectare, down 17 percent from last year’s record yield but up 11 percent from the 5-year average. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov.)

Jun 9 2017 | South Africa Corn: Record 2016/17 Output Doubles Previous Crop
South Africa’s 2016/17 corn production is estimated at a record 16.4 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.1 mmt or 7 percent from last month and up 8.2 mmt or 100 percent from 2015/16. Area is estimated at 3.0 million hectares, down 0.1 million hectares (mha) from last month and up 0.8 mha from 2015/16. Yield is estimated at a record 5.47 metric tons per hectare, up 47 percent from the 2015/16 crop, which was reduced by severe drought. A record yield is expected due to well-above-average seasonal rainfall during January and February when the crop was in critical pollination and grain-filling stages.

Apr 11 2017 | South Africa Corn: Near-Record Crop Expected
South Africa’s 2016/17 corn production is forecast at a record 15.0 million metric tons (mmt), up 0.4 mmt or 3 percent from last month and up 6.8 mmt or 83 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.9 million hectares from last year. The forecast yield is 4.84 metric tons per hectare, up 30 percent from last year and near the record yield of 4.85. The forecast yield is near record due to above-average seasonal rainfall, especially during January and February when the crop was in the critical pollination and grainfilling stages.

Mar 9 2017 | South Africa Corn: Bumper Harvest Expected
South Africa’s 2016/17 corn production is forecast at 14.6 million metric tons (mmt), up 1.6 mmt or 12 percent from last month and up 6.4 mmt or 78 percent from last year. USDA’s forecast includes output from both the commercial sector, which accounts for about 95 percent of the country’s corn output, and the developing sector, whereas South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) only includes the commercial sector. Area is estimated at 3.1 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.9 million hectares from last year. The forecast yield is 4.71 tons per hectare, up 18 percent from the 5-year average.

Jan 12 2017 | South Africa Corn: Area to Rebound by Over 40 Percent
South Africa’s 2016/17 corn production is forecast at 13.0 million metric tons (mmt), unchanged from last month but up 5.1 million or 65 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares (mha), unchanged from last month but up 0.9 mha or 41 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 4.19 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha) is slightly above the 10-year trend of 4.13 mt/ha.

May 10 2016 | South Africa: 2016/17 Corn Area and Production Expected to Increase
South Africa’s corn production for 2016/17 is forecast at 13.0 million tons, up 6.5 million or 100 percent from last year’s drought-reduced crop and up 1.6 million from the 5-year average. Harvested area is forecast at 3.2 million hectares, up 1.3 million or 68 percent from last year. Low stocks and record high white-corn prices should encourage farmers to plant more corn. Corn area for 2015/16 fell short of planting intentions because the lack of rainfall during the optimal planting window from October through December prevented planting and hampered emergence. The corn planting season in South Africa starts in the eastern portion of the corn belt in early October and ends in the west during early January. The 2016/17 forecast yield of 4.06 tons per hectare is equal to the 10-year trend and slightly above the 5-year average.

Mar 9 2016 | South Africa Corn: Dryness in the West Continues to Reduce Production Forecast
South Africa’s 2015/16 corn production forecast was reduced to 6.5 million metric tons (mmt), down 0.5 mmt or 7.1 percent from last month and down 4.3 mmt or 40 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 1.9 million hectares, down 0.1 million hectares from last month and down 1.1 million hectares from last year. The forecast yield is 3.42 tons per hectare, down 15 percent from the 5-year average. Both reductions were based on below-average February rainfall in the Free State and North West provinces. Earlier dryness had already delayed planting in this region until mid-January, after the optimum period, and satellite imagery indicates bare fields in mid-February.

Feb 9 2016 | South Africa Corn: Severe Drought Reduces Area and Production Forecasts
South Africa’s 2015/16 corn production forecast was reduced to 7.0 million metric tons (mmt), down 1.0 mmt or 13 percent from last month and down 3.8 mmt or 35 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 2.0 million hectares, down 0.2 million hectares from last month and down 1.0 million hectares from last year. The forecast was reduced due to start-of-season rainfall being insufficient for successful sowing or plant emergence in the western Corn Belt during the optimal planting season from October through December. It was reported that some farmers did plant with favorable mid-January rains even though the optimal planting window had expired many weeks ago. Landsat-8 and MODIS satellite imagery shows bare fields by mid-January for most of the western corn belt of western Free State and North West provinces. The forecast yield is 3.50 tons per hectare, down 13 percent from the 5-year average yield.

Jan 12 2016 | South Africa’s Corn: Area and Production Down due to Lack of Rain
South Africa’s 2015/16 corn production forecast was reduced to 8.0 million metric tons, down 4.0 million tons from last month and down 2.8 million from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 2.2 million hectares, down 0.8 million hectares from last month and last year. The forecast yield is 3.63 tons per hectare, down 10 percent from the 5-year average.

Dec 9 2015 | South Africa Corn: Planting Delayed due to Drought
South Africa’s 2015/16 corn production is forecast at 12.0 million tons, down 0.75 million tons from last month but up 1.2 million tons from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 3.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month and slightly down from last year. Yield is forecast at 4.0 tons per hectare, up 13 percent from last year’s yield of 3.54 tons per hectare and near the 5-year average yield of 4.02 tons per hectare.

Nov 10 2015 | South Africa: Lower Corn Area and Output Forecast
USDA forecasts South Africa’s 2015/16 corn production at 12.75 million metric tons, down 0.75 million tons from last month, but up 1.95 million tons from last year’s drought-reduced crop. Area is forecast at 3.0 million hectares, down 200,000 hectares from last month and down 48,000 hectares from last year. The forecast yield of 4.25 tons per hectare is 2.5 percent below the 10- year trend, and assumes normal weather for the upcoming growing season.

Apr 9 2015 | South Africa Corn: Drought during Pollination Reduces Dryland Yields
South Africa’s 2014/15 corn production is forecast at 11.3 million tons, down 0.2 million tons or 1.7 percent from last month and down 3.7 million tons or 25 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares, unchanged from last month and nearly the same as last year’s area of 3.096 million hectares. Yield is forecast at 3.65 tons per hectare (MT/Ha), down 25 percent from last year’s record yield of 4.84 MT/Ha and down 12 percent from the 5-year average yield of 4.13 MT/Ha. Irrigated corn area and yields are expected to be at record levels with irrigated yields increasing from improved high-yielding and short-season varieties. Irrigated output has been over 2 million tons for six of the past seven years and this year’s drought will result in irrigated output comprising nearly one-quarter of South Africa’s total output. Irrigated output for 2014/15 is forecast at 2.6 million tons on 245,000 hectares with average irrigated yields of 10.5 tons per hectare. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov).

Mar 10 2015 | South Africa Corn: Drought During Pollination Stage Reduces Yield
South Africa’s 2014/15 corn production is forecast at 11.5 million tons, down 2.0 million tons or 15 percent from last month and down 3.5 million tons or 23 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares, down 0.1 million hectares from last month and virtually matching last year’s area of 3.096 million. The forecast yield of 3.71 tons per hectare is down 23 percent from last year’s record and down 10 percent from the 5-year average. Seasonal rains were favorable throughout most of the country for planting in November and December but rainfall was below average in the western and central part of the country during the critical pollination stage from late January through mid-February. Above-average rainfall returned during the last week of February, but water stress during early February caused poor pollination and grain filling in western and central parts of the grain belt. Specialists from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service traveled within South Africa’s corn belt during early March and observed average crop conditions in the east, below-average conditions in the central region, and very poor conditions or crop failure in the far west. Water stress during the pollination stage was most severe in North West Province where crop failures were observed and where 20 percent of last year’s record harvest was produced. South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) released its initial crop production estimate on February 26, and total corn output was estimated to be 21 percent lower than the 5-year average and 32 percent lower than last year’s record crop. MODIS-NDVI satellite imagery indicates that corn yields in North West province will be 22 percent below the 5-year average, while the CEC estimates yields to be 32 percent lower. (For more information, please contact Curt.Reynolds@fas.usda.gov).

Apr 9 2014 | South Africa Corn: Record Yield Expected
South Africa’s 2013/14 corn production is forecast at 14.0 million tons, up 1.0 million tons from last month and up 1.6 million from last year. Corn area is forecast at 3.20 million hectares, unchanged from last month but slightly less than last year’s area of 3.24 million hectares. The forecast yield of 4.38 tons per hectare is a record yield due to timely and well-above-average rainfall during February and March in the western and central Corn Belt when the crop was in the critical pollination and grain-filling stages. Seasonal rains were favorable throughout most of the country for planting in November and December but January’s rainfall was below-average in the western and central part of the country, which stressed the crop during the vegetative stage. However, above-average rainfall from late January through March revived the crop and national yields are now expected to reach record-levels. USDA/FAS personnel traveled within South Africa’s corn-belt during mid-March and observed good to excellent crop conditions, with interviewed farmers and traders reporting a bumper harvest expected for most regions. MODIS-NDVI satellite imagery with 250-meter spatial resolution indicates that corn yields should be near average in the east and well above-average in the central and western part of the country.

Mar 8 2013 | South Africa Corn: Production Greater than Last Year
South Africa’s 2012/13 corn production is forecast at 13.0 million tons, down 0.5 million tons from last month but up 0.6 million or 5 percent from last year. Corn area is forecast at 3.3 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.2 million or 6 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 3.93 tons per hectare (T/Ha) is below the five-year average yield of 4.04 T/Ha due to below-average seasonal rainfall and crop conditions in the western Free State and North West provinces. Seasonal rains arrived on time and have been favorable in the eastern portion of South Africa’s grain basket for the entire crop season. However, seasonal rains arrived several weeks late and were below average for a large portion of the western crop region, with January and February rainfall well below average in the west during the critical pollination and early grain filling stages. USDA/FAS personnel traveled within South Africa’s corn-belt during the last week of February when the crop was in the grain-filling stages. Crop conditions in North West and western Free State provinces were observed to range from very poor to mediocre, while crop conditions in the east ranged from very good to excellent, with record crop yields possible for Mpumalanga province. A mid-season dry spell occurred throughout South Africa’s grain basket during late-February and the entire region requires rain in early March. Final yields will depend on rainfall received during March and no early frosts in April damaging the crop. Crop yields are expected to reach near record levels in the east and be well below-average in the west. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds, PhD, at 202-690-0134.)

Mar 15 2012 | South Africa Corn: USDA Analysts Observe Signs of Water Stress in the Maize Triangle
South Africa corn production for 2011/12 is forecast at 12.0 million tons, down 0.5 million from last month and up 1.1 million or 10 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.2 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month and up 0.3 million or 12 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 3.75 tons per hectare (t/ha) is near the five-year average of 3.77 t/ha and below last year’s yield of 3.82 t/ha. Overall conditions are dry and yield is not expected to surpass last year’s level.Seasonal rainfall from October through February was below average despite expectations of above-average rainfall during a La Niña year. Furthermore, the seasonal rains arrived several weeks late, delaying the launch of the planting campaign. Soybeans typically are planted from October through December.USDA/FAS personnel traveled throughout South Africa’s corn belt during the first week of March when the crop was in the early grain-fill stage. Crop conditions varied widely, with excessive dryness and permanently wilted corn in the worst areas. All major corn-producing provinces had a mixture of good and poor crops, although the majority of the crop displayed signs of water stress in early March.South Africa’s National Crop Estimates Committee released its first production estimate at the end of February but a subsequent dry spell from mid-February through early March reduced yield expectations throughout the main growing region. Water balance models and vegetative indices indicate that yields will be less than last year by a significant amount. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Apr 8 2011 | 2010/11 Corn Crop in South Africa Favorable, Despite Dry Spell in the East
South Africa’s 2010/11 corn production is forecast at 12.0 million tons, down 0.5 million tons from last month and down 1.4 million from last year or 11 percent. Area is forecast at 2.90 million hectares, down 0.1 million hectares from last month and down 0.36 million or 11 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 4.14 tons per hectare is well above the five-year average yield of 3.71 tons per hectare.The eastern portion of South Africa’s Maize Triangle experienced a prolonged dry spell from mid-February through early March, which reduced yield expectations for Mpumalanga province. However, nationally crop conditions are favorable and yields are expected to be above average for the fourth consecutive year. Seasonal rains arrived one to two weeks late during the planting season in October, but the La Niña rains were well above average during December and January which greatly boosted crop development in the vegetative to early grain-filling stages. Waterlogged fields from excessive mid-January rains were also reported in the southwestern part of the Free State province but the abundant January rains were considered overall to be beneficial for crop growth.Specialists from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service traveled within South Africa’s Maize Triangle during mid-February, when the crop stage was in the early grain-filling stages. Crop conditions were observed to be good to excellent. The dry spell from February through early-March later reduced yield expectations in the east, but yields in the west are expected be similar to last year, as indicated by water balance models, satellite-derived vegetative indices, and National Crop Estimates Committee of South Africa. (For more information, please contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Apr 13 2010 | El Niño Did not Reduce South Africa's 2009/10 Corn Output
South Africa's 2009/10 corn production is forecast at 14.0 million tons, up 0.5 million tons from last month and up 1.4 million from last year or 10 percent. Corn area is forecast at 3.25 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.35 million from last year. The forecast yield of 4.31 tons per hectare is slightly below last year's record yield of 4.34 tons. Seasonal spring rains arrived on time and were near average during the planting season from October through December, 2009. Rainfall during January was well above-average which was beneficial for crop development during the vegetative to early-grain-filling stages. Rains continued to be favorable during February and March, with the western part of the Maize Triangle receiving above-average rains during March. The moderate El Niño forecast did not bring drought conditions in South Africa's grain basket region as generally expected during El Niño years. In contrast, seasonal rains were above-average, with many fields waterlogged in the Free State province during late February. This is the third consecutive year with excellent yields which is rare for South Africa where seasonal rainfall is highly variable. USDA/FAS personnel traveled within South Africa's Maize Triangle during the third week of February. Crop conditions in the high-yielding eastern part of the country were observed to be excellent and similar to last year's record yields. Crop conditions were observed to be good in the low-yielding western part of the country, but March rains were above-average which should enable crop yields in the west to be similar to last year's record yields. In addition, water balance models and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) time-series graphs indicate crop yields should be comparable to last year's record yields for most provinces. (For more information contact Dr. Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134).

Mar 11 2010 | South Africa Expects Bumper Corn Harvest during El Niño Drought Year
South Africa's 2009/10 corn production is forecast at 13.5 million tons, up 2.0 million tons from last month and up 0.9 million from last year or 7 percent. Corn area is forecast at 3.25 million hectares, up 0.15 million hectares from last month and up 0.35 million or 12 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 4.15 MT/Ha is slightly below last year's record yield of 4.34 MT/Ha, though yields could reach record levels with favorable rains in March. Seasonal spring rains arrived on time and were near-average during the planting season from October through December, 2009. Rainfall during January was well above-average which was beneficial for crop development during the vegetative to early-grain-filling stages. Rains continued to be favorable during February, with final yields dependent on March rainfall. USDA/FAS personnel traveled within South Africa's Maize Triangle during the third week of February. Crop conditions in the high-yielding eastern part of the country were observed to be excellent and similar to last year's record yields, while crop conditions were good in the lowyielding western part of the country and require good rains in March for another good season similar to last year. The moderate El Niño forecast during December 2009 did not bring drought conditions in South Africa's grain basket region as generally expected during El Niño years. In contrast, seasonal rains were above-average, with many fields waterlogged in the Free State province during late February. This is the third excellent crop season in a row, which is rare for South Africa where seasonal rainfall is highly variable. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134).

Oct 13 2009 | South Africa: Another Bumper Harvest for 2008/09 Corn
South Africa's 2008/09 corn production is estimated at 12.75 million tons, up 0.75 million from last month and down 0.4 million or 3 percent from 2007/08. Harvested area is estimated at 3.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month and down 0.3 million from the previous year. The estimated yield of 4.25 tons per hectare is a record and nearly 30 percent above the 5-year average.Estimated production was increased this month based on corn delivery data from SAGIS (South Africa Grain Information Service), which indicates this year's corn deliveries during the first week of October are only 130,000 tons less than at the same time last year. Since corn delivery rates are very low from October through March, current corn delivery totals imply this year's final corn harvest should be several hundred thousand tons less than 2007/08 production of 13.16 million tons (i.e., production from both commercial and developing agriculture sectors are included). Higher than expected yields are attributed to favorable climate conditions from February to April, better performing short-season varieties, and increased irrigation area. South African corn is typically planted from early October through the end of December, and harvest begins around mid-April and continues through the end of June. (For additional information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Aug 19 2009 | South Africa: Low Prices and El Nino Reduce 2009/10 Corn Production Forecast
South Africa's 2009/10 corn production is forecast at 10.5 million tons, down 1.0 million from last month and down 1.5 million from last year. Area is forecast at 2.8 million hectares, down 0.4 million from last month and 0.2 million from last year. The reduction in estimated area is attributed to low corn prices and high stocks, which are expected to discourage farmers from planting corn. The planting season typically begins in early October in the eastern portion of the Maize Triangle and ends during early January in the west. A moderate-to-strong El Nino is forecast for the 2009/10 growing season, which tends to substantially reduce corn yields due to mid-summer droughts corresponding to the critical pollination and grain-filling stages. The 2009/10 forecast yield of 3.75 tons per hectare (t/ha) is below the 10-year trend yield of 3.84 t/ha due to current El Nino conditions, but above the five-year average yield of 3.51 t/ha. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Jun 10 2009 | Zimbabwe's 2008/09 Corn Output Better than Last Year Due to Favorable Weath
Zimbabwe's 2008/09 corn production is estimated at 650,000 tons, up 250,000 tons from last month and up 125,000 tons from last year. The 2008/09 yields are expected to be greater than last year due to favorable weather, with last year's yield estimated at 0.40 tons/hectare and 2008/09 yield estimated at 0.59 tons/hectare. Corn area for 2008/09 is estimated at 1.1 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month but down 0.2 million from last year's 1.3 million hectares. Zimbabwe's 2008/09 corn area was extensively evaluated with satellite imagery by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to determine if the corn area trend has increased or decreased after the Zimbabwe fast track land reform program was announced in July, 2000. The satellite imagery analysis revealed that 2008/09 corn area decreased by approximately 30 percent nationwide from the1999/00 growing season. A 30 percent reduction in corn area (when 1999/2000 corn area totaled 1.47 million hectares) implies that 2008/09 corn area ranges from0.9 to 1.1 million hectares. In contrast, the Zimbabwe government currently estimates 2008/09 corn area at 1.52 million hectares, despite seed and fertilizer production operating at 15 to 20 percent capacity compared to 2000. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

May 19 2009 | World 2009/10 Crop Area and Production Forecasts
The initial USDA country-level area and production estimates for 2009/10 grains, oilseeds, andcotton are provided this month. In previous years, only the initial grain estimates were releasedin May, but this year estimates for oilseeds and cotton are provided as well.World wheat area for 2009/10 is estimated at 224 million hectares, down less than 1 percentfrom last year. International prices in September 2008, when many Northern Hemisphere wheatproducers were deciding if they would plant, had declined from a year earlier while prices forcorn and soybeans were stronger. Wheat production is forecast at 658 million metric tons, down25 million tons from 2008/09, when excellent growing conditions occurred in many of the majorproducers.World corn area is forecast at 156 million hectares for 2009/10, unchanged from the previousyear. Reports of farmers foregoing corn planting because of high input costs have been receivedfrom many countries. Corn area is not increasing even though corn prices were high relative towheat, and to a lesser extent soybean, during December to February when many farmers weremaking their corn planting decisions. Corn production is forecast virtually unchanged at 788million tons as corn planting in the Northern Hemisphere is underway.World soybean area is forecast at 99 million hectares up 2 million. Production is forecast at 242million tons, up 29 million from 2008/09. Much of the increase results from an expectation ofrecovery in Argentina and Brazil which suffered from extreme drought in major producing areas.World international soybean/corn price ratios from October through December favored corn, buthigher production costs have favored soybeans, which require fewer inputs. (For moreinformation, contact Paul Provance 202-720-0873.)

Mar 11 2009 | South Africa: Bumper 2008/09 Corn Crop
South Africa's 2008/09 corn production is forecast at 12.0 million tons, up 1.5 million tons from last month but down 1.2 million from last year. Area is forecast at 3.0 million hectares, unchanged from last month but down 0.3 million or 9 percent from last year. The forecast yield of 4.0 tons per hectare is slightly above last year's record yield of 3.99 tons per hectare, and above the 10-year trend yield of 3.66 tons per hectare. In general, seasonal spring rains arrived on time and were above average during the planting season from October through December, with the exception of a brief dry spell during the end of December in the western part of the country which delayed plantings. Rainfall during January and February was above average for both western and eastern regions which was beneficial for crop development during the vegetative to early grain-filling stages. USDA/FAS personnel traveled within South Africa's Maize Triangle during the third week of February to assess crop conditions. Crops conditions were observed to be very good in the highyielding eastern part of the country due to favorable rains. Conditions were less favorable in the low-yielding western part of the country due to patchy rainfall and late planted crops in some regions. Current crop conditions in early March range from good to excellent as the crop enters final grain-filling stages. Yields currently are forecast slightly above last year's record due to favorable rains during the growing season, good soil moisture reserves, record irrigated corn area, and high investment in fertilizers and seeds. Final yields will be dependent on rainfall received during March and if no early frosts in April damage the late-planted crops. Genetically modified (GM) corn will account for approximately 66 percent of the total commercial corn area this year; three years ago GM corn comprised 29 percent of the total. Irrigated corn area is forecast at a record 250,000 hectares. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

May 9 2008 | South Africa Set for Bumper 2007/08 Corn Harvest
South Africa's 2007/08 corn production is forecast at 11.5 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month and up 4.2 million from last year. Area is forecast at 3.2 million hectares, unchanged from last month but up 0.3 million or 10 percent from last year. The estimated yield of 3.59 tons per hectare is above the 5-year average and 10-year trend yield of 3.00 and 3.32 tons per hectare, respectively.Seasonal spring rains were timely and abundant during the planting season from October through December and generally enabled farmers to plant at optimal dates. High corn prices and a La Niña forecast encouraged farmers to increase planted area and boost fertilizer application this year. Yields currently are forecast above the 10-year trend due to timely and well-distributed rainfall, optimal planting dates, large irrigated area, and high investment in fertilizers and hybrid seeds. Harvest is underway and will be completed by the end of July. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Feb 8 2008 | South Africa Set for Bumper 2007/08 Corn Harvest
South Africa's 2007/08 corn production is forecast at 11.0 million tons, up 1.0 million tons from last month and up 3.7 million from last year. Corn area is forecast at 3.2 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.3 million or 10 percent from last year. The estimated yield of 3.44 MT/Ha is above the 5-year average yield of 3.00 MT/Ha, and above the 10-year trend of 3.32 MT/Ha.Seasonal spring rains arrived on time and were above-average during the planting season from October through December. The abundant and well-distributed rains allowed farmers to plant at optimal planting dates, with the exception of one brief dry spell that occurred during the end of December. High corn prices and a La Niña forecast encouraged farmers to plant corn this year, as well as invest in more fertilizers than usual to boost yields. High corn prices also encouraged farmers to plant corn under irrigation, and irrigated area is forecast at a record high of approximately 220,000 hectares.Current crop conditions range from good to excellent as the crop enters pollination and grain filling stages. Yields currently are forecast above the 10-year trend due to favorable weather, and high input levels. There is some danger that excessive rain could possibly reduce yields due to water-logging and excessive nitrogen leaching. Final yields will be determined from weather conditions during the next two months. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202- 690-0134.)

Apr 10 2007 | South Africas 2006/07 Corn Crop Wilts from Prolonged Dryness
South Africas 2006/07 corn production is forecast at 6.0 million tons, down 1.0 million tonsfrom last month and down 0.9 million from last year. Corn area is forecast at 2.8 millionhectares, down 0.1 million hectares from last month but up 0.8 million or 40 percent from lastyear. Area was reduced from last month because poor rains and high temperatures continuedthrough March and caused extensive crop damage throughout the western corn belt.

Mar 12 2007 | Drought in South Africa Reduces Corn Yields
South Africas 2006/07 corn production is forecast at 7.0 million tons, down 2.5 million tonsfrom last month but up 0.1 million from last year. Area is forecast at 2.9 million hectares, down0.2 million hectares from last month but up 0.9 million or 45 percent from last year. Area wasreduced from last month, because low rainfall prevented farmers from planting all their seedsand crops failed in many regions in the west due to moisture stress and high temperatures fromearly January through early March. The estimated yield of 2.41 tons per hectare is below the 5-year-average yield of 3.10 tons.Crop conditions were above average at the end of December, but prolonged dryness and nearrecord high temperatures from early January through early March (during the critical pollinationand early grain-filling stages) caused irreversible crop damage and lowered potential yield andgrain quality. In addition, the crop continues to wilt from lack of rainfall and warmtemperatures in early March.Crop conditions in the east are better than in the west, but yields in the east will also be belowaverage. Rainfall in March would help to reduce further yield losses, but dry and hot weatherduring January and February reduced yields to below average for most regions within the MaizeTriangle.On February 27, the National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC) released their first corn production estimate for the commercial sector of 7.7 million tons on 2.59 million hectares. Nextmonth, their estimate will include the developing sector, which last year was estimated at 0.3million tons on approximately 430,000 hectares. (For more information, contact Curt Reynoldsat 202-690-0134.)

Feb 26 2007 | Lack of January Rainfall Raises Concerns in South Africas Corn Belt
South Africas 2006/07 corn production is forecast at 9.5 million tons, down 0.5 million tonsfrom last month but up 2.6 million or 37 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 3.1 millionhectares, down 0.1 million hectares from last month but up 1.1 million or 53 percent from lastyear. The large area increase is attributed to high international and local prices, and farmersplanting corn again after reducing area last year due to low prices. The estimated yield of 3.06MT/Ha is slightly below the 5-year average yield of 3.10 MT/Ha due to below-average Januaryrainfall in the west where nearly 50 percent of the crop is grown.On January 24, the National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC) released the first corn areaestimate for the commercial sector of 2.68 million hectares. This estimate does not include thedeveloping sector corn area of approximately 420,000 hectares. Farmers initially intended toplant more corn this year due to high prices during time of planting, but lack of rainfall duringthe first week of January (end of planting season) prevented many farmers in the west fromplanting the intended amount.The crop condition was above average at the end of December but recent dryness during Januarylowered crop conditions to average. Most of the crop is in the pollination stage or very close toit. Lack of rainfall during this critical period has stressed the crop and could cause irreversibledamage to grain quality and yields, especially if significant rain is not received in the west duringearly February. Rainfall in February and March will largely determine final yields.

Dec 12 2006 | South Africa: Corn Area and Production Expected to Increas
South Africa's 2006/07 corn production is forecast at 10.0 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month and up 3.0 million from last year. Area is forecast at 3.2 million hectares, up 0.2 million from last month and 1.2 million from last year. High international corn prices this year are expected to encourage farmers to plant corn at levels similar to those before last year's 40 percent area cutback. The estimated yield of 3.12 tons per hectare is near the five-year average and assumes near-normal weather for the remainder of the growing season. However, the current El Niño has reached moderate to strong levels that could reduce rainfall during February and March and correspondingly reduce yields during mid-season. At the beginning of this growing season, rains arrived slightly late in the eastern portion of the Maize Triangle but were sufficient during November to plant most of the crop in this region. Planting is expected to continue in the western portion of the Maize Triangle through December provided rainfall remains favorable. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134

Jul 12 2006 | South Africa Corn Area and Output Lowered for 2005/06 Due to Low Prices
South Africas 2005/06 corn production is forecast at 7.0 million tons, down 0.5 million from last month and down 4.7 million from last year. Area is forecast at 2.1 million hectares, down 100,000 from last month and down 1.1 million from last year. The decrease in area from the previous year is attributed to low prices during most of 2005, high carry-over stocks at time of planting, and reduced credit from banks and cooperatives. The estimated yield of 3.33 tons per hectare is above the 10-year trend of 3.22 tons but below the previous year's record yield of 3.63 tons. National corn yields are expected to be well above average due to favorable rainfall and also because more than 1.2 million hectares of cropland was left fallow, or set aside, from last year. Historical analysis indicates that national yields tend to go up when countries set aside large portions of cropland because set-aside acreage tends to occur on marginal soils at both farm level and provincial scales. South African farmers harvest their corn crop each year from April to early August, with June and July being the key harvest months. (For more information contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Dec 1 2005 | South Africa: Lower Corn Area and Output for 2005/06
South Africa's 2005/06 corn production is forecast at 7.5 million tons, down 0.5 million from last month and down 4.2 million from last year. Area is forecasted at 2.6 million hectares, down 0.2 million from last month and down 0.6 million from last year. The estimated yield of 2.88 tons per hectare is near the 5-year average and assumes normal weather for the upcoming growing season. Although South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee's (CEC) planting intentions survey indicates a year-to-year decrease of 53 percent in corn area for 2005/06, prices have increased since the survey. Because of the higher prices, along with timely November rains, farmers are likely to plant more corn than initial intentions indicated. Therefore, USDA forecasts that the year-to-year change in area will not be as great as indicated by the CEC survey. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202 690-0134.)

Oct 1 2005 | South Africa: Lower Corn Area and Output for 2005/06
South Africa's 2005/06 corn production is forecasted at 8.0 million tons, down 1.0 million tons from last month and down 4.0 million from last year. Area is forecasted at 2.8 million hectares, down 400,000 hectares from last month and down 700,000 from last year. The estimated yield of 2.86 tons per hectare is near the five-year average and assumes normal weather for the upcoming growing season. The area was lowered in response to the first intentions to plant survey released by South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), whereby commercial farmers indicated they would plant 42 percent less corn area than last year. However, corn prices have increased since the farmers were surveyed at the end of August, and plantings could also increase if good rainfall occurs in November. Total corn area, therefore, was reduced by only 20 percent from last year in expectation that farmers will plant more corn than they indicated in the survey. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Aug 1 2005 | Tanzania: Record Corn Output Forecasted For 2005/06
Tanzanias 2005/06 corn production is forecast at a record 3.3 million tons, up 70,000 tons from last year. Area is expected to be a record 2.97 million hectares, slightly above last years record area. Corn yields are forecast at 1.1 tons per hectare, up 2 percent from last year but still below the 5-year average. Tanzanias grain basket of the southern highlands had above-average rains and increased fertilizer applications due to a new fertilizer subsidy program. However, yields were below-average in some regions of central Tanzania where a dry spell in February adversely affected the crop. In addition, Aprils rainfall was below-average throughout most of the country, which reduced yields in many regions in northeastern Tanzania where the crop was at critical flowering and tasseling stages. However, these decreases are expected to be offset by increases in the southern highlands. Crop production is expected to be near record levels due to increased corn area. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-013.)

Jun 1 1997 | SOUTH AFRICA: SUMMER GRAIN HARVEST DELAYED BY RAIN
The National Crop Estimates Committee's third official estimate of South Africa's 1996/97 summer grain production has been released, the U.S. agricultural counselor in Pretoria reports. The corn production estimate is unchanged from the previous month at 8.2 million tons and includes output on both developing and commercial farming operations and based on conditions as of May 15, 1997. Corn and other summer grain crops are currently being harvested, but the process has been interrupted by heavy rainfall in the major grain-producing areas. Based on field observations and other sources, the recent rainfall has caused damage to crops that are still on the land, particularly corn and groundnuts, and may have an adverse effect on quality. There are indications that there is a temporary shortage of corn which will be alleviated by the resumption of harvesting. The harvest may get into full swing again when both fields and crop have dried out, probably by the third and fourth week of June. Wheat planting for 1997/98 is in progress and will continue through the end of June. The recent rain resulted in soil moisture ideal for wheat production. USDA estimates the 1996/97 corn production at 8.3 million tons and 1997/98 wheat output at 2.5 million.

Dec 1 1997 | SOUTH AFRICA: WHEAT AND BARLEY CROPS HURT BY DROUGHT
Wheat and barley 1997/98 production in South Africa is estimated lower this month due to drought which significantly reduced yields. Wheat production is estimated at 2.3 million tons, down 0.3 million or 12 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year. Soil moisture levels were very good at planting and early-season crop prospects were better-than-average, but hot and dry weather in September caused serious yield losses in all major production areas. The worst crop damage was reported in Western Cape, where the crop is estimated down 31 percent from last year. The drought damaged the barley crop as well. Grown primarily in Cape Province, barley output for 1997/98 is estimated at 190,000 tons, up slightly from last year, but down 16 percent from the previous estimate.

Jan 1 1998 | SOUTH AFRICA: LOWER CORN AREA IN 1997/98
South Africa's 1997/98 corn crop is estimated at 8.0 million tons, down 0.5 million from last month and down 1.0 million from last year. Planted area in the commercial sector is estimated at 3.0 million hectares, down 0.2 million from last month and 0.4 from a year ago. Farmers reportedly reduced area in response to dry planting conditions and in anticipation of possible drought brought on by El Nino. Estimated yield of 2.66 tons per hectare is below the 5-year average and similar to last year's yield. The U.S. agricultural counselor's office in Pretoria reported that farmers may have cut corn area by almost 11 percent in commercial areas. Dryness in November and December caused planting delays in the North West Province, and fears of El Nino-related drought in 1998 caused farmers in other areas to reduce corn area or shift to drought-tolerant crops. Planting continued into January in the western and northwestern Maize Triangle, where heavy rainfall since late-December improved moisture conditions. To date, the effect of El Nino on South Africa's weather has not been severe. Rainfall was below normal in November and early December in most areas of the country, but heavy, widespread rain later in December has improved crop prospects. Cooler temperatures also have reduced the stress on summer crops.

Dec 1 1998 | SOUTH AFRICA: CORN AREA HIGHER
South Africa's corn production for 1998/99 is estimated at 9.0 million tons, an increase of 0.5 million from last month and up 1.5 million from last year. Corn area is estimated at 3.2 million hectares, up 8 percent from a year ago. Beneficial rainfall at the beginning of the planting season encouraged farmers to increase corn area by an estimated 200,000 hectares. According to a recent Government survey of planting intentions, area planted to white corn, which is used for human consumption, is expected to increase by 136,000 hectares in 1998/99. Yellow corn suffered a large area decline in 1997/98, but farmers are planning to increase area by 64,000 hectares this year in response to higher prices. Although planting is off to a solid start, sowing can continue into mid-January if necessary.

Mar 1 1999 | South Africa: Corn Yields Reduced by Drought
Unfavorably hot and dry weather has led to a major reduction in South Africa's estimated 1998/99 corn crop this month. Production is estimated at 7.0 million tons, down 2.0 million or 22 percent from last month and down 7 percent from last year due to lower yield. On February 15, South Africa's National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC) released its first production estimate for 1998/99 summer crops based on conditions to-date. Total corn output (commercial and non-commercial) was estimated at 7.7 million tons, close to the 1997/98 crop, but much lower than anticipated earlier in the season. The NCEC area estimate of 2.9 million hectares is up slightly from its initial estimate in January; however, it is lower than earlier forecasts by other analysts at the start of the planting season. Soil moisture was adequate at planting, and above-normal rainfall through December led to expectations of high yields. Moisture conditions and temperatures continued favorable through mid-January, but the weather grew increasingly dry in February and March. Rainfall was 50 to 70 percent below normal in February, and unusually hot temperatures in late-February and March increased the impact of the dryness, particularly in the eastern Maize Triangle. Widespread rainfall is needed in March to prevent further yield losses.

Apr 1 1999 | SOUTH AFRICA: DROUGHT CONTINUES TO PLAGUE CORN
South Africa's corn production estimate for 1998/99 is reduced to 6.0 million tons, down 1.0 million or 14 percent from last month and down 20 percent from last year due to lower forecast yield. The crop was planted under favorable conditions, and above-normal rainfall in December led to expectations of a good yield. However, the weather became increasingly dry in January and February causing stress for corn in the reproductive to grain-fill stage. Rainfall was 50 to 70 percent below normal in many areas during February, and unusually hot temperatures in early March increased the impact of the dryness, particularly in the eastern Maize Triangle. Northern and eastern crop areas received scattered light showers in mid-March which provided local relief from the drought and prevented further yield losses, but other areas remained unfavorably warm and dry through early April. The crop is now maturing and harvest will begin in May.

Apr 1 1999 | SOUTH AFRICA: MOSTLY DRY IN CORN BELT
Rainfall was near to below normal across the corn belt of South Africa in February, reducing moisture available to reproductive and filling crops. In the east, some of the nation's highest yielding areas were hit hard by the dryness, although the lack of excessive heat and favorable long-term moisture reserves mitigated the impact. Further west, timely, albeit lighter-than-normal showers early in the month gave way to warmer, drier conditions by month's end. The February drying trend set the stage for the damage caused by stressful heat in early March. During the week of February 28 through March 6, South Africa was gripped by hot, dry weather, which stressed corn and other summer crops while accelerating crop development. Temperatures averaged 3 to 5 degrees C above normal across the corn belt, with highs hitting the middle 30s at many locations. This was the warmest week of the season and, while most summer crops had advanced past the high moisture and temperature-sensitive reproductive stages of development, corn was still vulnerable to heat and moisture stress. From March 7 to 20, light rainfall and more seasonable temperatures were reported in the eastern summer crop areas. In western crop areas, below-normal rainfall and late summer warmth enhanced crop development and favored maturation and dry down. Scattered showers continued during March 21 to 27 across the eastern half of the country, providing localized drought relief, mainly to sugarcane. The heaviest rain fell from the northern and central sections of the corn belt to the main coastal sugarcane areas. While the rain stabilized immature corn and other summer crops, the moisture came too late in the growth cycle to significantly improve overall yield prospects. From March 28 through April 3, dry and warm weather dominated the region. At this late stage in the growing season, additional rainfall would improve wheat prospects but provide little benefit to other summer crops.

Feb 1 2000 | Zimbabwe: Corn Area and Production Estimates Reduced
Corn production for 1999/2000 is estimated at 1.7 million tons, down 0.3 million or 15 percent from last month, but up 0.2 million from last year. Area is estimated at 1.4 million hectares, down 50,000 hectares from a year ago as farmers responded to high input costs and low corn prices by reducing area. Rainfall during the growing season has been above-normal in southern and central parts of the country, providing abundant moisture for non-irrigated crops. The prime corn areas of northern Zimbabwe experienced episodes of dryness from November through mid-January which hindered planting and caused some crop stress, but irrigation should reduce the impact on yields. According to local farm officials, the forecast for the 1999/2000 commercial crop (about 30 to 40 percent of total output) declined from pre-season estimates due to lower area, dryness at planting, and the effect of high input costs and fuel shortages.

Feb 1 2000 | South Africa: Favorable Weather Boosts Corn Yield, Production
South Africa's 1999/2000 corn production is estimated at 9.0 million tons, up 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month due to higher forecast yield. Planting was delayed 2 to 4 weeks because of dryness in October and November, but widespread rainfall and moderate temperatures since the second week of December favored late-season planting, emergence, and development. The main agricultural region (Maize Triangle) has received adequate rainfall this summer, while unusually heavy precipitation was reported in marginal crop areas. No serious flood damage or waterlogging have been reported to date, and the corn crop is generally in good condition. The first official production estimate by the South Africa Government will be released in late-February.

Mar 1 2000 | South Africa: Historical Corn Area and Production Series Revised
South Africas National Department of Agriculture recently published a revised corn area and production series which, for the first time, combines data from commercial and the small-scale subsistence farms to create a single national database. There were few changes to the production series, which already included most of the output from subsistence farms, but the new series more accurately represents the total corn area on all farms in the country. USDA has adopted these revisions from 1989/90 through 1998/99.

Mar 1 2000 | South Africa: February Rainfall Benefits Corn
South Africas 1999/2000 corn crop is estimated at 9.5 million tons, up 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month and up 23 percent from last years revised output. The estimated yield of 2.38 tons per hectare is higher than the previous two years and above the 5-year average. Widespread rainfall in January and February created favorable moisture conditions for corn as it entered the filling stage. In addition, temperatures have been seasonable and there was little vegetative stress during the past two months. Very heavy rainfall in early February caused localized flooding, water-logging, and disease problems in a small portion of the northern part of the Maize Triangle, resulting in lower estimated yield in the affected areas. These losses will be offset by higher yields in the central and western Maize Triangle, where the rainfall was mostly beneficial. Tropical cyclone Leon-Eline, which struck Mozambique and Zimbabwe on February 22, had little impact on South Africas summer grain crops.

Apr 1 2000 | South Africa: Favorable Weather Boosts Corn Yield
South Africas 1999/2000 corn crop is estimated at 10.0 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month and up 2.3 million from last year due to higher estimated yields. Widespread showers and seasonable temperatures covered the central Maize Triangle in March, maintaining very good moisture levels for filling and maturing corn. In northern and western corn areas, which experienced excessive rainfall and flooding in February, drier weather in March favored crop development. Recent warm, dry weather followed a brief cool wet period in early April, improving conditions for corn maturation and early harvest activities. The corn harvest normally begins in April and continues through July.

Sep 1 2000 | South Africa: Corn Production Falls as Area Drops
South Africas 2000/01 corn production is estimated at 9.0 million tons, down 0.5 million or 5 percent from last month and down 12 percent from the 1999/2000 bumper crop due to lower estimated area. Planted area for 2000/01 is forecast to drop by 4 percent to 3.7 million hectares, as commercial corn farmers are expected to respond to low prices, high production costs, and excessive stocks by shifting from corn to oilseeds or leaving land fallow. Planting will commence in October following the start of the rainy season and continue through December.

Dec 1 2000 | Zimbabwe: Lower Corn Output Forecast
Zimbabwe corn production for 2000/01 is estimated at 1.0 million tons, down 17 percent from last month and 41 percent from last year due to lower estimated area. Based on information from farm organizations and other sources, planted area was reduced sharply this month to 950,000 hectares, down 34 percent from last year and the lowest since 1991. Area reductions are expected in both the commercial and the communal farming sectors for many reasons, among them the Governments disruptive land redistribution program, economic instability, agricultural input shortages, and unfavorably low procurement prices. Yields are also expected to be affected by the problems in Zimbabwes agricultural system. Estimated yield for the 2000/01 crop is 1.05 tons per hectare, almost 17 percent below the 5-year average. Planting is currently underway and should be concluded by the end of December. The rainy season started slowly this year, but cumulative rainfall since November 1 has been close to normal and there is adequate moisture for planting and germination in the main crop areas. Reservoir levels are high following heavy rainfall last year, but electricity shortages will limit the use of irrigation water.

Feb 1 2001 | South Africa: Lower Corn Area and Yield in 2000/01
South Africas 2000/01 corn crop is estimated at 8.0 million tons, down 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month and down 24 percent from last year. Area is estimated at 3.3 million hectares, down 15 percent from last year and the lowest in 60 years. On January 22, the National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC) reported that commercial farmers planted an estimated 2.7 million hectares of corn in 2000/01, down 18 percent from last year. This total included 1.6 million hectares of white corn (59 percent) and 1.1 million hectares of yellow corn (41 percent). Planted area in the non-commercial sector is believed to have fallen by a commensurate amount. Low prices, credit problems, and high production costs encouraged farmers to reduce corn area and/or shift to alternative crops. Estimated yield was reduced slightly this month to 2.4 MT/Ha, close to the 5-year average but higher than the weather-reduced yields of 1997/98 and 1998/99. The weather was favorably warm and wet for corn germination and development through mid-December. Rainfall diminished in late-December, but soil moisture remained adequate. In mid-January, unseasonably hot and dry weather created stressful conditions for corn approaching the heat-sensitive tasseling stage. The return of scattered showers and milder temperatures toward the end of January eased the threat of drought in the heart of the Maize Triangle, although outlying crop areas remain drier than normal. Additional rainfall and seasonable temperatures are needed in February to prevent further yield reductions.

Jun 1 2002 | Southern Africa  Lower Corn Production Estimated
This month, 2001/02 corn production estimates for several southern African countries were revised downward in response to new information about planted area and the effect of this seasons unfavorable weather. Stocks levels are very low and grain prices have risen dramatically in the affected countries. Southern Africa will struggle to provide adequate grain to vulnerable people in the region, including refugees, urban workers, displaced farm workers, and subsistence farmers. Zimbabwes 2001/02 corn crop is estimated at just 500,000 tons, down 66 percent from the poor crop a year earlier and the lowest output since 1991/92. Many factors contributed to Zimbabwes catastrophic harvest this year: seasonal rainfall was down by 75 percent in many crop areas, agricultural inputs (fertilizer, fuel, irrigation water) were very costly or unavailable, high-yielding Commercial farmland was taken out of production, and serious economic and political problems disrupted the agricultural sector. Corn production in Zambia is estimated at 620,000 tons in 2001/02, down 23 percent from a year earlier and the smallest crop since 1997/98. Zambia has suffered from severe drought for three consecutive years. Corn production elsewhere in Southern Africa has also suffered in 2001/02 and was revised downward this month. In Malawi, estimated corn production is down year-to-year by 10 percent; Swaziland, down 7 percent; Lesotho, down 40 percent and Botswana down 15 percent. In contrast, South Africas 2001/02 corn production increased by 17 percent to an estimated 8.8 million tons due to generally favorable weather and increased area. However, this amount will not be sufficient to meet the corn shortfall in the region.

Mar 1 2001 | South Africa: Dry Conditions Temper Corn Yields
South Africa corn production for 2000/01 is estimated at 7.5 million, down 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month and down 29 percent from last years bumper crop. Area is estimated at 3.3 million hectares, unchanged from last month but down 15 percent from last year. The estimated yield was reduced this month to 2.27 tons per hectare in response to an extended period of dryness. Following a favorably wet planting period, the weather in South Africas corn producing regions turned mostly dry and unseasonably warm from January through mid-February. Surface and subsurface soil moisture declined significantly and potential yields were reduced in many areas, especially for early-planted corn, which was in the pollination/silking stage during the dry period. Widespread rainfall and cooler temperatures in recent weeks have improved soil moisture levels and reduced crop stress, particularly for late-planted corn. Current conditions (early March) are dry again, but additional rain is forecast for later in the month. Yield prospects have stabilized and may improve given favorable weather through harvest.

Dec 1 2001 | Zimbabwe: Corn Production Expected to Decline
Zimbabwe corn production for 2001/02 is estimated at 1.3 million tons, down 0.3 million or 19 percent from last month and down 9 percent from last years poor crop. Planted area is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, down 2 percent from last year. The reduction occurred in the large-scale commercial farm sector, which accounts for about 6 percent of total planted area, but 25 to 30 percent of total production. Economic and political instability has prevented many large-scale farmers from planting 2001/02 summer crops, including corn and tobacco. In the small-scale farming sector, planted area for 2001/02 is expected to be similar to last year, but yields could decline because producers may be unable to afford fertilizer, which has more than doubled in price since last year. Planting for the 2001/02 crop started last month and should be complete by the end of December. Although the summer rainy season was delayed by 2 to 4 weeks, normal to above-normal rainfall in November has created favorable moisture conditions for planting and germination. Harvesting will take place in May/June 2002.

Feb 1 2002 | South Africa: Corn Area and Yield Revised Down
South Africas 2001/02 corn crop is estimated at 8.5 million tons, down 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month, but up 13 percent from last year. Estimated corn area for 2001/02 was reduced by 3 percent this month, to 3.4 million hectares based on data from South Africas National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC). The estimated yield of 2.5 tons per hectare is higher than last year and above the 5-year average According to the January NCEC report, commercial farmers planted an estimated 2.88 million hectares of corn in 2001/02, down 58,000 hectares from the previous NCEC planting intentions estimate in November, but up 170,000 hectares from last year. No official estimate is available for corn area in the developing agricultural sector, which totaled 515,000 hectares in 2000/01. Several factors encouraged South African farmers to expand corn area in 2001/02, including high domestic corn prices, low stock levels, strong export demand, and favorable weather at the start of the 2001/02 planting season, which began in October 2001. However, unusually heavy rainfall in November caused localized flooding and lengthy planting delays in western and southern crop areas, forcing some farmers to abandon planned acreage or switch to alternative crops such as sunflowers. The current weather is generally favorable for the 2001/02 corn crop, which is now in the vegetative to reproductive growth stage. Recent moderate to heavy showers improved moisture conditions for reproductive crops in the eastern corn belt, which had been trending drier than normal for a few weeks. Meanwhile, late-planted vegetative corn in Free State and North West benefited from drier weather during the first week of February. Near-normal temperatures (highs from 25 to 30 degrees C) created good conditions for pollination, which usually occurs from mid-January to mid-February. According to satellite imagery and local reports, the crop appears to be growing well, with few signs of heat stress, insect damage, or disease.

Mar 1 2002 | South Africa: Mild Weather Raises 2001/02 Corn Yield Prospects
South Africas 2001/02 corn crop is forecast at 9.0 million tons, up 0.5 million or 6 percent from last month, and up 1.5 million or 20 percent from last year. Estimated area for 2001/02 is 3.4 million hectares, up 4 percent from last year, as farmers expanded corn area in response to high domestic prices, low stock levels, and strong export demand. The forecast yield of 2.68 tons per hectare is higher than last year and above the 5-year average. According to South Africas National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC), above-average corn yields are expected in every province this year. The first NCEC corn production estimate for the 2001/02 season is 9.18 million tons (8.86 million from the commercial sector, 0.32 million from the developing sector), up 1.7 million or 23 percent from last year. Above-normal spring rainfall (November-December) provided abundant soil moisture for planting and germination across the Corn Belt but caused locally-significant planting delays in southern and western crop areas. The weather in January and February was generally drier than normal but mostly favorable, without the summer drought, excessive heat, or flooding seen in previous years. Timely rainfall in February eased dry conditions which had developed in the eastern Corn Belt during January, while late-planted corn in Free State and North West benefited from scattered showers in late-February and early March. Temperatures have been near normal to below normal this season, limiting the impact of dryness on crop development. The only area of major concern is Northern Province, where several weeks of dry and hot weather have created stressful conditions. Most of the 2001/02 corn crop is now in the grain-fill stage. Harvesting will start in April and may extend into July.

Apr 1 2002 | Zimbabwe: Drought Devastates Corn Crop
Zimbabwe corn production for 2001/02 is estimated at 1.0 million tons, down 0.1 million or 9 percent from last month and down 0.4 million or 30 percent from last years below-average crop. Planted area is estimated at 1.2 million hectares, down 2 percent from last year due to area reductions in the large-scale commercial farm sector. The estimated yield of 0.83 tons per hectare is the lowest since 1994/95 and much lower than the 5-year average yield of 1.2 tons per hectare. Dry weather in October 2001 delayed the start of the planting season by 2 to 4 weeks, but moderate to heavy rainfall in November and early-December provided abundant moisture for germination and early establishment. This favorable pattern changed in January, when the summer rainy season ended abruptly. Total rainfall from January through March was less than 25 percent of normal, and above-normal temperatures throughout the growing season magnified the impact of the dryness. Soil moisture was severely depleted, and supplemental irrigation was rarely available to ease the stress. The crop is now at the filling and maturing stage, too late in the season to benefit from additional rainfall. Harvesting is expected to start later in April and continue for several months.

Dec 1 1999 | SOUTH AFRICA: CORN PLANTING BEGINS
South Africas 1999/2000 corn production is estimated at 8.5 million tons, unchanged from last month, but up 1.4 million or 20 percent from last year. Area is forecast to rebound after a two-year decline and reach an estimated 3.2 million hectares. The estimated yield of 2.66 tons per hectare is slightly above the 5-year average. In November, South Africas National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC) lowered its preliminary corn area estimate from 3.3 million hectares to 3.1 million. A late start to the rainy season delayed planting in some areas by 4 weeks, and localized dryness has affected germination. Planting is complete in the eastern Maize Triangle and will continue through December in the west, where more rain is needed in order to reach planting intentions. The first official planted area estimate by NCEC will be published in January, and the first official production estimate will be released in February. Moderate showers (10-25 mm or more) swept through the eastern half of the corn belt in late November, easing dry conditions and benefitting emerging summer crops in the northern and eastern Maize Triangle. However, soil moisture levels remain lower than normal, particularly in Free State. Scattered showers in early December brought welcome relief to western crop areas. Temperatures and rainfall during February and March will be critical in determining the yield of the 1999/2000 corn crop.

Jan 1 2003 | South Africa: 2002/03 Corn Production Down Due to Poor Planting Conditions
Total corn production for 2002/03 is forecast at 8.0 million tons, down 1.5 million from last month and down 1.1 million or 12 percent from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.3 million hectares, down 0.3 million from last month and down 50,000 hectares from last year. Last months forecast production estimate was above the 5-year average; this months estimate was adjusted below the 5-year average, to account for a reduction in planted area and yield potential caused by dryness during November and early December. In the east portion of the Maize Triangle, planting was 3 or more weeks later than optimum, due to dry conditions in November. Many young plants were either stressed or died from the lack of moisture and excessive heat. Other regions experienced significant delays in planting, due to the late onset of rains. Late plantings in the eastern region of the Maize Triangle will reduce yields, due to a shorter growing season and increase the risk of frost damage at harvest time. Planting cond itions were better in the western region of the Maize Triangle where the rains arrived on time in mid-December. The Maize Triangle grows about 75 percent of South Africas corn crop.

Feb 1 2003 | South Africa: Forecast Corn Production Unchanged as Eastern Dryness Balanced
South Africas 2002/03 corn production is estimated at 8.0 million tons, unchanged from last month, but down 1.1 million or 12 percent from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.3 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but down 50,000 hectares from last year. The estimated yield of 2.42 tons per hectare is approximately equal to the 5-year average, and estimated planted area of 3.3 million hectares is slightly below the 5-year average. Crop conditions have been nearly average in the western region of the Maize Triangle where the rains arrived on time in mid-December and rains were near-to-above average during January. In the Maize Triangle, fair conditions in the west probably offset potential yield losses in eastern regions where below normal rainfall was reported during January.

Mar 1 2003 | South Africa: 2002/03 Corn Production Statistical Series Updated
South Africas 2002/03 corn production is forecast at 9.0 million tons, up 1.0 million or 12.5 percent from last month, but down 0.7 million or 7 percent from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.5 million hectares, up 200,000 hectares from last month and up 150,000 hectares from last year. This months production estimate was increased due to baseline adjustments made to the production time series for the past 4 years. The updated production time series agrees with official estimates reported by South Africas National Department of Agriculture (NDA), and these estimates are greater than the preliminary estimates given by South Africas National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC). NCEC estimates have been consistently lower than reported deliveries to silos and millers for the past 4 years. Yield estimates were adjusted upwards due to the revision of the production baseline; the new estimated yield of 2.57 tons per hectare is below the 2001/02 yield of 2.90 tons per hectare due to drier weather overall this season. Estimated area is near the 5-year average, with a projected year to year increase of 150,000 hectares based on reports collected during field travel. Recent field travel in the Maize Triangle by a USDA team observed the crop in the low-yielding West to be near average due to favorable rains during December and January, while the crop in the high-yielding East was below average due to below normal rainfall for the entire season. Both regions experienced a difficult crop season because plantings were delayed by 2-4 weeks to mid-December; heat stress occurred during late January; and low soil moisture reserves were observed during early February. It appears all major agricultural inputs were readily available to farmers and no major pests or disease problems were observed.

Jan 1 2004 | South Africa: 2003/04 Corn Production Down Due to Poor Planting Conditions
South Africas corn production for 2003/04 is forecast at 8.0 million tons, down 0.9 million from last month and down 1.7 million or 17 percent from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.1 million hectares, down 0.2 million from last month and down 0.6 million from last year. The estimated yield of 2.58 tons per hectare is below the five-year average due to late plantings and low soil moisture reserves. Planting begins in October in the east and gradually progresses to the west where it ends in mid-January. In the eastern portion of the Maize Triangle, optimum planting dates are mid-October to mid-November and farmers were able to plant at this time. However, dry conditions and hot weather in December stressed many young plants and some farmers had to replant due to poor emergence. Late re-plantings will reduce potential yields due to a shorter growing season and increase the risk of frost damage at harvest time. Planting was delayed in the central and western region of the Maize Triangle due to dry conditions and low soil moisture reserves. The optimal planting time in the west is before Christmas, but dry conditions prevented large portions of the crop from being planted. Beneficial rain arrived during and after Christmas which improved planting conditions, and local seed companies have reported increased orders during the past two weeks. Corn area is expected to be low this year for both irrigated and dryland corn crops. Irrigation farmers are expected to plant less corn than last year and shift back to planting potatoes due to high potato prices. Dryland farmers are also reluctant to grow corn this year due to low soil moisture reserves caused by dry winter conditions which increase the risk of crop failure. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Mar 1 2004 | South Africa: Corn Production Unchanged From Last Month, But Down From Last Year
South Africas 2003/04 corn production is estimated at 7.5 million tons, the lowest since 1994/95. The crop estimate is unchanged from last month, but down 2.2 million or 22 percent from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 2.9 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but down 0.7 million from last year. The decline in area planted is attributed to low market prices during 2003 and below normal rainfall at the start of season, which delayed plantings by 2-3 weeks throughout the region. The estimated yield of 2.54 tons per hectare is below the 5-year average of 2.65 tons per hectare due to late plantings, a shorter growing season, low soil moisture reserves at the start of season, and lower than average irrigated corn area. USDA/FAS staff traveled within the Maize Triangle during the last week of February to assess crop conditions (refer to figure). In general, the crop in the high-yielding east was observed to be near average due to favorable rains during January and February, but irrigated corn area was below average due to lack of water in local farm reservoirs. Crop conditions in the low-yielding west were slightly below average due to a late start of season and patchy rainfall, but some areas had average crops due to good rainfall in January and February. No major pests or disease problems were reported or observed, but an early frost in April could cause some crop damage as most of the crop was planted 2-3 weeks late. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)

Mar 1 2005 | Bumper Corn Production Forecast for South Africa
South Africas 2004/05 corn production is forecast at 11.0 million tons, up 1.3 million from last month and up 1.3 million from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.5 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 0.2 million from last year. The estimated yield of 3.14 tons per hectare is above the 10-year trend yield of 3.06 tons but below the record yield of 3.31 tons in 1980/81. Irrigated area for 2004/05 is estimated at 225,000 hectares, which is 50,000 hectares above last year. Reportedly, more GMO seeds resistant to corn borer are being planted each year, especially in the eastern part of the corn-belt where corn borer has been a traditional problem. Analysts from the Foreign Agricultural Service traveled extensively throughout South Africas corn-belt February 21-25, 2005. The survey team found the crop in excellent condition for the entire region and a bumper harvest is expected assuming normal rainfall during March. High yields are forecast due to favorable weather during January and February as confirmed by the crop travel and the model results shown in the above image. Some regions in the northwest were planted a few weeks late due to late arrival of spring rains. Above-average rainfall during January and February benefited crop development and assisted the late-planted crop in these regions. South African corn is typically planted from early October through the end of December, and harvest begins around mid-April and continues through the end of June. The crop has reached grain-filling stages, however outstanding risks include below normal rainfall in March and early frost in April.

Apr 1 2005 | South Africa: Bumper 2004/05 Corn Harvest Expected
South Africas 2004/05 corn production is forecast at 11.5 million tons, up 0.5 million from last month and up 1.8 million from last years crop. Harvested area is estimated at 3.5 million hectares, unchanged from last month, but up 0.2 million from last year. The estimated yield of 3.29 tons per hectare is near the record yield of 3.31 tons in 1980/81. South African corn is typically planted from early October through late December. Currently the corn is in grainfill and harvesting is expected to occur from mid April through late June. USDA/FAS analysts traveled extensively throughout South Africas corn-belt during Feb. 21-25, 2005. The survey team found the crop in excellent condition for the entire region and its expected to be a bumper crop. Rainfall has been above average in January, and near average for February and March. There was some concern in the northwest regions, that due to late spring rains resulting in delayed plantings, the crops development may have been affected. However, above-average rainfall in January assisted the late-planted crop to recover in these regions. (For more information, contact Curt Reynolds at 202-690-0134.)


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