SOUTH AFRICA – The agriculture department’s crop estimates committee has made a slight upward adjustment to SA’s maize and wheat harvest forecast for 2016.

A prolonged drought during the past two seasons has lowered the expected maize yield by almost a third from a usual harvest of 12-million tonnes to about 7.536-million tonnes.

That, however, is 3.3% higher than the previous forecast.

The committee expects wheat production to be 1.7-million tonnes from last year’s 1.4-million tonnes.

The latest estimate is 1% or 17,350 tonnes more than the previous forecast. The adjustment is due to good rains in winter-crop districts.

On Tuesday the December 2016 wheat future contract was valued at R4,088 a tonne, while the yellow maize contract was valued at R3,008 rand a tonne.

The committee expects sunflower seed production to be 755,000 tonnes, 1.65% or 12,250 tonnes more than the previous forecast.

The production estimate for soybeans decreased to 741,550 tons, which is 1.16% or 8,700 tonnes less than the previous forecast.

September 21, 2016;