Johannesburg - South Africa’s 2013 wheat production is expected to fall 3.2 percent compared with a year earlier, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Local farmers are expected to harvest 1.81 million metric tons of the cereal, according to a median estimate of three analysts in the survey.

The range was 1.804 million tons and 1.88 million tons.

That compares with 1.87 million tons in the 2012 season.

The Crop Estimates Committee predicts South Africa will plant 500,500 hectares (1.2 million acres) with wheat this season.

That’s down from 505,500 hectares in the year earlier.

The CEC will release final 2013 production figures on May 6.

South Africa, a net importer of wheat, is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain and the region’s biggest importer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to US Department of Agriculture data.

Wheat for delivery in July rose 0.6 percent to 4,005 rand ($379) a ton by the close on the South African Futures Exchange. - Bloomberg News