January 26, 2012
South Africa to plant 11% more corn as prices rise
After prices increased, South Africa may plant 11% more land with corn this season.
Plantings may expand to 2.63 million hectares (6.5 million acres) from 2.37 million hectares, Marda Scheepers, an official at the government's Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone. That compares with the 2.57 million-hectare median estimate of nine traders surveyed by Bloomberg January 19.
"The reason for the advance is an increase in prices compared with the same period a year ago," Scheepers said. "We've seen a decrease in the area planted with sorghum as farmers switched to corn."
White-corn prices have risen 38% over the past six months on the South African Futures Exchange. The grain for March delivery closed at ZAR2,686 (US$341) a tonne today.
Farmers may sow 48,000 hectares with sorghum, 31% less than last season. Dry-bean plantings will probably fall by 11% to 37,200 hectares, while sunflower-seed plantings may shrink by 20% to 515,000 hectares, the committee's forecasts show.
The committee expects soy plantings to expand by 15% to 480,000 hectares this season, and groundnut plantings to fall by 17% to 46,000 hectares.