PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – Due to high stock levels that are suppressing prices, South Africa’s corn producers are expected to cut planted area by 10% to 2.1 million hectares in 2018-19, according to an Oct. 31 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As a result, the country’s corn production in 2018-19 is forecast to drop 11% from 13 million to 12 million tonnes and exports will decline from 2.5 million tonnes to 1 million tonnes, USDA said.

“Producers are projected to switch more corn fields to oilseeds, especially soybeans,” USDA said. “In fact, we estimate that a record area of 1.6 million hectares will be planted with oilseeds in South Africa in 2018-19, driven mainly by a 14% growth in the area planted with soybeans to 900,000 hectares.”

USDA forecasts corn consumption in South Africa in 2018-19 at 11.2 million tonnes, a 2% increase from a year ago.

“South Africa’s economic growth is expected to continue to be sluggish in the next two years, which would likely limit a substantial increase in the demand for corn.”