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Grain SA: Preliminary Maize Production Forecast - it's early days!

28 Jan 2016

Grain SA expressed their surprise about the size of the preliminary production forecast that was published by the National Crop Estimates Committee (NCEC) on 27 January 2016. The estimate came out at 7.438 million tons, whilst the market was expecting a crop between 5.5 and 6.5 million tons. “There were quite substantial plantings made very late in the season and the hectares of 1 995 000 could be correct,” Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain SA said, “but it is very early days if we take into account that the bulk of all maize plantings in the East and especially the Western production regions were planted outside of the optimal planting period. A maize plant needs ±150 days to ripen physiologically. Nobody can guarantee a frost free April or May.”

A bigger crop is a positive for everybody, but Grain SA wants to flag a warning that the estimate is far from being safely in a silo. The total crop was planted late and the Preliminary estimate is a month early. All of that leads to a higher risk in getting the numbers right. The NCEC has a very good track record, but only time will tell if the combination of an earlier estimate of a late crop is not one too much for them. Many farmers planted maize very late to have feed for their animals and we have seen many farmers cutting down some plantings for silage for animal feed. All of these factors will have an influence on how many tons will eventually be available for processing.

South Africa still needs to import at least 3.0 million tons of maize which in itself is quite challenging. “We will monitor the progress of the plantings and co-operate with the NCEC to improve the accuracy constantly,” says Jannie de Villiers.


Issued by:
Grain SA Communications
28 January 2016

Jannie de Villiers
CEO, Grain SA
086 004 7246