Maize harvest forecast to be lowered

South Africa‘s latest 2018 maize crop forecast, due to be released on Wednesday, is expected to be lower than previous estimates due to a late start to the harvest, a Reuters poll of four analysts showed on Tuesday.

The government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is seen pegging the harvest at 13.002 million tonnes in its eighth and final estimate, down 1.5 percent from the 13.207 million tonnes it estimated in August.

“There was a slow delivery pace from a late harvest season, especially in the western regions of the country, and hence the expectation that deliveries will miss target,” said Warren Langridge, a grain trader at Riddermark Capital.

Some analysts also said that yields have been lower than in previous seasons.

The CEC has kept estimates unchanged at 13.207 million tonnes for three consecutive forecasts.

The analysts polled expect the 2017/2018 harvest of the food staple white maize crop to be 6.782 million tonnes.

Yellow maize, which is mainly used in animal food production, is forecast at 6.220 million tonnes.

The white maize contract closing in October was 1.785 higher on Tuesday at R2 350 ($164), far off highs of R5 350 reached in 2016 after a severe El-Nino induced drought impacted yields and plantings.