PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — For the third straight year, South Africa is expecting to harvest a bumper corn crop.

Output of more than 16 million tonnes is once again anticipated in the 2021-22 marketing year as planted area remained at 2.7 million hectares, according to a Global Agricultural Information Report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Relatively attractive local market prices, progressive exports and favorable weather forecasts are positively influencing producers’ planting decisions,” the USDA said.

South Africa is coming off a year in which it produced the second largest corn crop on record at 16.8 million tonnes.

The USDA forecasts corn exports to reach 3 million tonnes, slightly lower than the estimated 3.5 million tonnes exported in 2020-21.

Commercial demand for corn is expected to increase slightly to 11.8 million tonnes, the report said. The USDA noted that economic growth in South Africa is expected to be limited, which will “hinder any major increase in the demand for corn, especially for animal feed purposes.”

South Africa’s corn sector has shown tremendous growth since 2015-16, with production more than doubling from 8 million tonnes and exports quadrupling from 800,000 tonnes.