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USDA World Agricultural Production

11 March 2015

USDA World Agricultural Production - March 2015USDA World Agricultural Production - March 2015

USDA World Agricultural Production

South Africa Corn: Drought During Pollination Stage Reduces Yield

South Africa’s 2014/15 corn production is forecast at 11.5 million tons, down 2.0 million tons or 15 percent from last month and down 3.5 million tons or 23 percent from last year. Area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares, down 0.1 million hectares from last month and virtually matching last year’s area of 3.096 million. The forecast yield of 3.71 tons per hectare is down 23 percent from last year’s record and down 10 percent from the 5-year average.

Seasonal rains were favorable throughout most of the country for planting in November and December but rainfall was below average in the western and central part of the country during
the critical pollination stage from late January through mid-February. Above-average rainfall returned during the last week of February, but water stress during early February caused poor
pollination and grain filling in western and central parts of the grain belt. 

Specialists from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service traveled within South Africa’s corn belt during early March and observed average crop conditions in the east, below-average conditions
in the central region, and very poor conditions or crop failure in the far west. Water stress during the pollination stage was most severe in North West Province where crop failures were observed and where 20 percent of last year’s record harvest was produced.

South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) released its initial crop production estimate on February 26, and total corn output was estimated to be 21 percent lower than the 5-year average and 32 percent lower than last year’s record crop. MODIS-NDVI satellite imagery indicates that corn yields in North West province will be 22 percent below the 5-year average, while the CEC estimates yields to be 32 percent lower. (For more information, please contact [email protected]).

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