Farmers probably harvested 1.495 million metric tons of the grain this year.
South Africa will probably trim its wheat-production estimate for this season after the worst drought in more than two decades reduced plantings and worsened crop yields.
The country’s farmers probably harvested 1.495 million metric tons of the grain this year, according to the median prediction of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That’s 0.7% less than the Crop Estimates Committee forecast last month and would be the least since at least 2011. The body will publish its new figures on December 15.
The driest conditions since 1992 have have damaged crops and livestock and sent local wheat prices to the highest on record. The government has declared disaster areas in several provinces of the country, the continent’s’ biggest corn and sugar grower, and the nation’s weather service has predicted below-normal rain in the next four months.
“Farmers in areas such as Swartland, one of the areas most affected by the dryness, have received 30 to 40% below-average yields,” Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at the Grain SA farmers’ lobby, said in an e-mail. While the harvest is complete in the Western Cape province, farmers are still reaping grain in other areas, he said.
Next week’s update from the Crop Estimates Committee will be the fifth this season. The analyst predictions ranged from 1.48 million tons to 1.5 million tons.
The Swartland area of the Western Cape, the province that produced half of the nation’s grain in 2014, has had its driest season in 75 years, farming lobby group Agri Wes-Cape said in October. While South Africa is the sub-Saharan region’s second- biggest producer of wheat, it’s still a net importer, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
This season’s imports probably totaled 1.95 million tons, up about 7% from 2014-15, according to Sihlobo. The shipments will account for almost 60% of South Africa’s total demand, he said.
Wheat for delivery in March on the South African Futures Exchange reached R4 840 ($309) a ton in in Johannesburg on Friday, the highest since November 1997. Prices have rallied 21% this year.
(Source – http://www.moneyweb.co.za/news-fast-news/sa-seen-cutting-wheat-output-estimate-after-drought/)