South African farmers are expected to harvest 9.8% less maize in the 2021/2022 season compared with the previous season, the government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC).

The CEC’s latest summer crop forecast estimates the 2022 harvest at 14,713 million tonnes, down from the 16,315 million tonnes harvested last season.

The harvest is expected to consist of 7,470 million tonnes of white maize, used for human consumption, and 7,243 million tonnes of yellow maize, used mainly in animal feed.

The estimated maize crop is 10% smaller than the 2021 crop. The three main maize producing areas, namely the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West provinces are expected to produce 82% of the 2022 crop.

The area estimate for white maize is 1,575 million ha and for yellow maize the area estimate is 1,048 million ha.

Production forecast

Sunflower seed: The production forecast for sunflower seed is 922,750 tonnes, which is 4.02% or 38,600 tonnes lower than the previous forecast of 961,350 tonnes. The area estimate for sunflower seed is 670,700 ha, while the expected yield is 1,38 t/ha.

Other crops: The production forecast for soybeans has been set at 2,151 million tonnes, which is 2.87 % or 60,000 tonnes more than the previous forecast of 2,091 million tonnes. The estimated area planted for soybeans is 925,300 ha and the expected yield is 2,33 t/ha.

The expected groundnut crop was adjusted downwards by 10.75 % or 5,900 tonnes, from 54,900 tonnes to 49,000 tonnes. For groundnuts, the area estimate is 43,400 ha, with an expected yield of 1,13 t/ha.

The production forecast for sorghum is 136,200 tonnes, which is 3.28 % or 4,620 tonnes less than the previous forecast of 140,820 tonnes. The area estimate for sorghum is 37,200 ha and the expected yield is 3,66 t/ha.

In the case of dry beans, the production forecast was also adjusted downwards by 3.44 % or 1,845 tonnes, from 53,565 tonnes to 51,720 tonnes. The area estimate of dry beans is 42,900 ha, with an expected yield of 1,21 t/ha.

The seventh production forecast for summer field crops for 2022 will be released on 30 August 2022.

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