Johannesburg - South African corn futures rose to the highest level in a month as the continued lack of rain raises concern about the harvest.

White corn for delivery in July, the most active contract, rose 2.2 percent to 2,101.80 rand ($236) a metric ton, the highest since January 22, by the close on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg.

The yellow variety for delivery in the same month gained 1.2 percent to 2,078 rand a ton.

There is no rain predicted until February 27 for Bothaville in the Free State, where 40 percent of the nation’s corn is produced, according to the South African Weather Service’s website.

“The weather maps are still indicating that there will be no rain until next week,” Benjamin Swanepoel, a trader at Trademar Futures (Pty) Ltd., said by phone from Johannesburg. “It will negatively affect the crop to come and that is why we see prices going up.”

A median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg showed that farmers may increase corn output by 5.9 percent to 12.5 million tons this season from a year earlier.

The Crop Estimates Committee will release its data on February 26.

South Africa is the largest corn producer on the continent. Meal made from white corn is one of the country’s staple foods and the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed.

Wheat for March delivery advanced 0.2 percent to 3,460 rand a ton. - Bloomberg