Mzansi famers are expecting yet another bumper maize harvest with the latest crop estimates banking the size of commercial maize crops for 2021 at a massive 15 922 million tonnes. This is more than enough to meet the local demand.
Grain SA says South Africans consumes an average of 10.5 million tonnes of maize per year, leaving the balance for export, mostly to other African states.
The projected bumper harvest is credited to the three main maize-producing areas, namely the Free State, Mpumalanga, and North West. These provinces are expected to produce 84% of this year’s crop.
Breaking 2020’s crop record
According to the crop estimates committee of the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, the estimated maize crop is 4% larger than the 2020 crop. Last year’s crop was described as the second-largest maize crop ever recorded in history.
The revised area estimate for maize is 2.755 million hectares, representing an increase from last year’s 2.4 million hectares planted in the 2019/2020 season.
The crop is expected to consist of an estimated 1.692 million hectares for white maize. This is mainly used for human consumption. Just more than a million hectares are for yellow maize used primarily as animal feed.
The production forecast of white maize is 8.796 million tonnes, which is 3 470 tonnes smaller than the previous forecast. In the case of yellow maize, the production forecast is 7.126 million tonnes, which is 1% more than the previous forecast.
Crop estimates for soya beans, sorghum and dry beans are also anticipated to increase during the month of April.
This is a notable improvement from the 2019/2020 summer production crop, says the crop estimates committee in their second production forecast for summer crops in 2021.
The soya bean production forecast increased by 6,62% to 1.728 million tonnes and the revised area estimate for sunflower seed is 477 800ha, while the expected yield is 1,46 tonnes/ha.
What about sorghum and dry beans?
The production forecast for sorghum is 187 670 tonnes, which is 10% more than the previous forecast. The revised area estimate for sorghum is 49 200ha and the expected yield is 3,81tonnes/ha.
In the case of dry beans, the production forecast is 62 117 tonnes. The revised area estimate of dry beans is 48 890ha, with an expected yield of 1,27 tonnes/ha.
While the second production forecast for summer crops for 2021 was fairly good, not all the crop estimates increased.
The production forecast for sunflower seeds dropped by 2.34% from the previous forecast of 712 940 tonnes to 696 290 tonnes. The expected groundnut crop decreased to 57 900 tonnes.