Johannesburg - South African corn futures increased for the first time in three days as dry weather in the main growing regions of the country persists.

White corn for delivery in July, the most active contract, gained 0.8 percent to 2,020 rand ($229) a metric ton by the close in Johannesburg.

The yellow variety for delivery in the same month increased 0.3 percent to 1,996 rand a ton.

There was no rain predicted for most of last week in Bothaville in the Free State province, where 40 percent of the nation’s corn is produced. While no rain is forecast for today in the same area, there will be showers tomorrow until March 4, according to the South African Weather Service website. Lichtenburg in the North West province has a 23 percent chance of rain today.

“It is dry in the North West and most parts of the Free State where rain is needed,” Thys Grobbelaar, an analyst at Klerksdorp, South Africa-based Senwes, said by phone.

“Small areas are looking good, but larger hectares need rain.”

South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of corn, also known as maize. Meal made from white corn is one of the country’s staple food and the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed.

Wheat for May delivery fell 2 percent to 3,350 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News