PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA –  Attractive prices, a growing export market and favorable weather have led South Africa’s commercial farmers to plant 2.6 million hectares of corn in the 2020-21 marketing year, a 12% increase over a year ago, according to a Nov. 4 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA also forecasts an 11% increase in corn production to 14 million tonnes, significantly higher than its previous projection of 12.6 million tonnes. Of that total, USDA forecasts exports of 2 million tonnes.

In the current marketing year (2019-20), South Africa is expected to export 2.5 million tonnes after producing the second largest crop in history at 16.0 million tonnes, an increase of 35% over the 2018-19 total (11.8 million tonnes).

USDA predicts a marginal increase in commercial demand for corn in 2020-21 to 11.6 million tonnes as South Africa’s economic growth will be under pressure in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and structural and policy constraints.