South Africa reveals some comfort for grains outlook as rain hits

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Rainfall in key regions of South Africa’s agriculture belt came at a ‘critically important time’, an update from the Grain SA agency said Wednesday.

In general, rainfall conditions improved over large parts of the country since the end of January, while ongoing rain across some regions has “allowed grains to recover,” according to the report.

“This season will be known as a difficult planting season due to very late rain and plantings,” the report notes, with some regions still facing severe challenges.

For the main corn growing regions of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, rains have provided some relief, but North West is facing some issues and other regions are still facing severe problems.

“It is still extremely dry in Limpopo where producers have to complete dry land crop plantings, which are being delayed due to the drought,” the report says.

Currently South Africa is expected to export 1.7 million mt of corn, according to the latest WASDE report, down from 2.5 million mt in the 2016/17 marketing year from a total production of 17.48 million mt.

Market sources have watched South Africa’s drought closely, however, as some have feared it could see South Africa cut its exports and instead import.

A severe drought in 2015/16 saw production slashed to 8.21 million mt and the country forced to import some 2.2 million mt of corn to meet its needs.

Source: agriCensus