PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — South African corn production is projected to remain at a high level in marketing year 2022-23 at 15.6 million tonnes, up 2% from the previous year and marking the third consecutive year of topping 15 million tonnes, according to a Global Agricultural Information Report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Given the extended period of high commodity prices, output would likely be even higher if not for the also record-high farming inputs that have kept the country’s corn planted area flat.

“The current high input cost environment is deterring any bullish outlook in expanding corn area, despite record-high commodity prices,” the USDA said. “In addition, (FAS) foresees that the positive trend in soybean plantings will continue in 2022-23, affecting an expansion in corn area.”

With another large corn crop expected — albeit well short of the record output of 17 million tonnes in 2020-21 — South Africa is expected to maintain its status as a net exporter of corn, according to the report. The USDA projects 2.5 million tonnes of South African corn exports in 2022-23, up from 2.2 million the previous marketing year.

The report lists Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam as the three largest markets for South American corn.