corn field
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — On the heels of a record corn crop in 2016-17, South Africa expects output to ease a bit in 2017-18, according to a Jan. 18 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Corn production in South Africa was estimated at 12 million tonnes in 2017-18, down 32% from 17.5 million tonnes in 2016-17, according to the USDA. South Africa suffered through a drought-reduced corn crop of 8.2 million tonnes in 2015-16.

“South Africa’s corn crop in the eastern side of the country is in a fairly good condition after good rainfall has been recorded between October and December of last year,” the USDA noted. “However, the western side of South Africa’s corn producing area is struggling under a mid-summer drought, resulting in low soil moisture. The drought had an impact on corn planting activities in the west with estimates that producers only planted about 70% of the intended corn area.”

The USDA said South Africa is expected to export about 2 million tonnes of corn in 2017-18, drawing on its relatively large carryover stock from the 2016-17 marketing year. Through the first 36 weeks of the 2016-17 marketing year South Africa has exported 1.8 million tonnes of corn, the USDA said, including 1.2 million tonnes of yellow corn and 546,000 tonnes of white corn. The top export donation has been Japan, followed by Kenya, Taiwan and South Korea.

Total consumption of corn in South Africa for the 2017-18 market year was estimated at 10.65 million tonnes, unchanged from 2016-17 and compared with 10.1 million tonnes in 2015-16. Human consumption of corn was slightly higher in 2016-17 compared with 2015-16 and 2017-18, driven by relatively low prices after the record corn crop, the USDA said.