Maize harvest estimate

2015-07-02 12:47

The latest production estimate for the total maize harvest this season in South Africa which was release last week is 9,755 million tons with an average yield of 3,7 tons per hectare. The total harvest last year was 14,25 million tons with an average yield of 5,3 tons per hectare. Although it is estimated that the total maize harvest this season could be a third lower than the previous season, it is nevertheless a completely normal harvest under South Africa's production conditions and the country should be grateful for it because it is not much lower than the long-term average yield of maize in South Africa of 4 tons per hectare.

The coefficient of variation around this long-term average yield is about 25%, which means that it is completely normal in South Africa to produce maize with an average yield in any year of between 3 and 5 tons per hectare, in other words, 1 ton per hectare above or below the long-term yield of 4 tons per hectare. Last year's large harvest was actually a little above a normal long-term harvest and although the maize harvest this year may be a third lower than last season, it should still be regarded as a good harvest which could primarily be attributed to the efficiency with which maize is produced in South Africa by commercial farmers, in addition to the good rains which nevertheless were received in some of the production areas in the country.

Fanie Brink - Independent Agricultural Economist

2 July 2015

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