Larger maize crop forecast

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Johannesburg - This year’s corn crop in South Africa may be 3.4 percent bigger than the 2013 harvest, a survey showed.

Producers may harvest 12.1 million metric tons of corn, according to a median prediction of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The range was 11.4 million tons to 12.8 million tons and that compares with output of 11.7 million tons in the 2013 season, which was 3.6 smaller than the previous harvest.

The Crop Estimates Committee will release its forecast on February 27.

South Africa produced 12.8 million tons in 2010, the biggest crop since 1982.

Cornmeal made from the white variety is used to make a staple food known as pap, while the yellow type is mainly fed to animals.

The committee will probably leave its estimate for the area of corn plantings unchanged from last month’s forecast of 2.71 million hectares (6.7 million acres), the survey showed.

The range was 2.71 million hectares and 2.78 million hectares.

White corn for delivery in July dropped 3.7 percent, or the 80-rand daily limit, to 2,086 rand a ton, the lowest for the contract since November 29, by the close in Johannesburg trading.

The yellow variety for delivery in the same month fell 3.1 percent to 2,169 rand a ton.

The committee will probably leave its estimate for wheat output unchanged from its January 28 prediction of 1.8 million tons, two of the analysts said. - Bloomberg News

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