SA sees record maize crop even bigger in last estimate

Johannesburg - South Africa boosted its final estimate for this year’s record crop as the pace of deliveries continues to point to a bumper harvest.

Growers will probably reap 16.74 million metric tons of corn in the 2016 to 2017 season, Lusani Ndou, a senior statistician at the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone on Thursday. That’s more than double the 7.78 million tons produced a year earlier, when the worst drought since records began more than a century ago reduced the harvest to a nine-year low.

The bumper crop has helped support the economy, which emerged from a recession in the second quarter. The agriculture sector surged an annualised 34% in the second quarter from the previous three months, while slowing food-price growth has helped limit inflation this year.

The committee raised its corn-crop estimate by 2% from the 16.41 million tons it projected in August. The harvest is split between white and yellow corn.

Other forecasts from the CEC included:

• White corn estimate was increased 2.5% to 9.89 million tons.

• Yellow corn estimate was increased 1.4% to 6.85 million tons.

• Wheat production estimated at 1.72 million tons, 10% lower than a year earlier. The committee predicted 1.6 million tons in August.

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