Grain and Feed Update

An Expert's View about Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in South Africa

Posted on: 13 May 2012

Post forecasts planted area for corn in the 2012/13 MY at three million hectares. This should result in a crop of about 11.4 million tons.

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Required Report - public distribution Date: 4/30/2012 GAIN Report Number: South Africa - Republic of Grain and Feed Update Quarterly Update Approved By: Ross Kreamer Prepared By: Dirk Esterhuizen Report Highlights: Post forecasts planted area for corn in the 2012/13 MY at three million hectares. This should result in a crop of about 11.4 million tons. South Africa’s commercial corn crop estimate for the 2011/12 MY, dropped by two percent to 11.1 million tons due to unfavorable weather conditions. However, despite the drought conditions, South Africa’s commercial farmers will produce seven percent more corn than in the 2010/11 MY, on a 14-percent increase in planted area. Hence, South Africa is expected to continue to be a net exporter of corn in the 2011/12 MY and 2012/13 MY. Post expects exports for both marketing years at 1.5 million tons. Post: Pretoria Executive Summary: Post forecasts that the area planted to corn later in 2012 for the 2012/13 MY [1] (2013/14 MY for South Africa) will be around three million hectares, just down from the 3.2 million hectares planted in the previous marketing year. This will, on a national average yield basis, result in a corn crop of about 11.4 million tons. In their third estimate, the Crop Estimates Committee’s (CEC) decreased the South African commercial corn crop by almost two percent to 11.1 million tons due to drought conditions experienced through the growing season. Post estimates that subsistence farmers planted about 500,000 hectares of corn and will produce 500,000 tons of corn. This means that South Africa’s total corn crop for the 2011/12 MY is estimated at 11.6 million tons on 3.2 million hectares compared to the 10.9 million tons on 2.9 million hectares of the 2010/11 MY. Post forecasts that South Africa will be able to export about 1.5 million tons of corn in the 2012/13 MY. Despite the unfavorable climatic conditions in the 2011/12 MY, South Africa is expected to continue to be a net exporter of corn due to the increase of hectares planted. Post estimates that these exports will also be around 1.5 million tons. For the 2010/11 MY, South Africa exported 2.4 million tons of corn, which included 1.7 million tons of white corn and 710,334 tons of yellow corn. US$1 = Rand 7.76 (04/25/2012) Sources: www.sagis.org.za www.grainsa.co.za www.safex.co.za www.daff.gov.za [1] The marketing years (MY) used in the text refer to the USDA marketing years in the PS&D table, and do not necessarily correspond with the marketing years used by the South African grain industry. Production The long term trend in corn production indicates South Africa is producing more corn on less area. The main reasons for this trend are more efficient and effective farming methods and practices, the use of less marginal land in the corn production systems, better seed cultivars, the adoption of biotechnology and the deregulation of the corn industry in the mid-nineties. As a result, the average corn yields almost doubled in the past 15 years. Indications are that this trend of producing more corn on fewer hectares will continue in future. Consequently, post forecasts that the area planted to corn later in 2012 for the 2012/13 MY (2013/14 MY for South Africa) will be around three million hectares. Commercial farmers will plant about 2.5 million hectares and subsistence farmers 500,000 hectares. This will, based on a national average yields, result in a crop of about 11.4 million tons. The third estimate for the area planted and production of corn by commercial farmers for the 2011/12 MY (the 2012/13 MY in South Africa which runs from May 2012 to April 2013) was released by the CEC on April 24, 2012. The CEC dropped the South African commercial corn crop by almost two percent to 11.1 million tons. The main reason for the drop is that seasonal rainfall from October through February over the corn producing areas of South Africa was below average, despite expectations of above-average rainfall due to a La Niña year. Corn typically is planted from October through December in South Africa. In addition, an unexpected dry-spell from mid-February through early March impacted negatively on yields, and subsequently corn yields are less than last year. However, despite the drought conditions, South Africa’s commercial farmers will produce seven percent more corn than in the 2010/11 MY due to a 14-percent increase in the planted area. According to the CEC, commercial farmers planted 2.7 million hectares of corn for the 2011/12 MY. Corn plantings were up in response to higher domestic corn prices during planting time (almost double) compared to the previous season. Domestic corn prices were up on the back of speculation that corn stock levels in South Africa are decreasing due to increased exports. Commercial farmers planted 1.6 million hectares with white corn, 15 percent more than the previous year, and 1.1 million hectares with yellow corn, 11 percent more than the previous year. Post estimates that subsistence farmers planted about 500,000 hectares of corn and will produce 500,000 tons on corn. This means that South Africa’s total corn crop for the 2011/12 MY is estimated at 11.6 million tons on 3.2 million hectares, compared to the 10.9 million tons on 2.9 million hectares of the 2010/11 MY. The following table details area planted and production figures of white and yellow commercial and subsistence corn for the 2010/11 MY (actual), 2011/12 MY (estimate) and 2012/13 MY (forecast). Table 1: Area planted and production of commercial and subsistence corn in South Africa Area Yield Prod. Area Yield Prod. Area Yield Prod. 1,000ha t/ha 1,000 t 1,000ha t/ha 1,000 t 1,000ha t/ha 1,000 t MY 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 Commercial corn White 1,418 4.3 6,052 1,637 3.9 6,415 1,500 4.3 6,370 Yellow 954 4.5 4,308 1,063 4.4 4,705 1,000 4.5 4,450 Sub Total 2,372 4.4 10,360 2,700 4.1 11,120 2,500 4.4 10,820 Subsistence corn White 347 1.1 396 350 1.0 350 350 1.1 390 Yellow 140 1.2 168 150 1.0 150 150 1.2 180 Sub Total 487 1.1 564 500 1.0 500 500 1.1 570 TOTAL 2,872 3.8 10,924 3,200 3.6 11,620 3,000 3.8 11,390 Source: SAGIS and CEC Consumption Since 2008, the human consumption of corn grew only by one percent per annum, while the demand for animal feed corn grew by almost three percent per annum on the back of improved general economic conditions which increased the demand for meat. However, slower growth for the South African economy is predicted for the next two years, which will also slow down the demand for meat. South Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2012 and by 3.6 percent in 2013 due mainly to the financial difficulties in Europe, South Africa’s biggest regional export market. As a result, post forecasts that the demand for corn for human consumption will increase by one percent to 4.9 million tons in the 2012/13 MY, while the demand for corn for animal feed purposes will increase by two percent to 4.8 million tons. Hence, post predicts that the total domestic demand for corn will increase to 10.4 million tons in the 2012/13 MY. Table 2 outlines the commercial consumption for white and yellow corn for the 2010/11 MY (actual), 2011/12 MY (estimate) and 2012/13 MY (forecast). Table 2: The commercial consumption of white and yellow corn in South Africa CORN White Yellow Total White Yellow Total White Yellow Total 1,000 t MY 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 Human 4,335 395 4,730 4,400 400 4,800 4,450 400 4,850 Animal 1,235 3,450 4,685 1,200 3,500 4,700 1,200 3,600 4,800 Other 230 475 705 200 500 700 250 500 750 TOTAL 5,800 4,320 10,120 5,800 4,400 10,200 5,900 4,500 10,400 Source: SAGIS; Grain SA Note: Please note that consumption figures in the PS&D table also include corn utilized by the subsistence farming sectors. For the 2011/12 MY, post estimates that commercial demand for corn for human consumption and animal feed purposes will remain basically flat from the previous season at 4.8 million tons and 4.7 million tons, respectively, due to relative high domestic corn prices which will dampen demand. Total commercial corn consumption increased marginally in the 2010/11 MY to 10.1 million tons on economic growth of about three percent. The steady increase in the local corn price from June 2011 that reached record levels in January this year, which almost doubled the price levels from a year ago, dampened higher growth in corn demand. This increase in corn price was also channeled through to the consumer as can be seen in Table 3, where the increasing trend since January 2011 in the retail prices of corn meal, a staple food for many South Africans, are shown. Table 3: The trend in the retail price of maize meal since January 2011 Jan Apr Oct Jan Percentage Percentage 2011 2011 2011 2012 change change Jan 2012 – Jan Jan 2012 – Oct 2011 2011 Corn special R16.11 R16.66 R20.26 R26.41 64% 30% meal (5kg) Corn super R22.83 R23.12 R26.99 R32.26 41% 20% meal (5kg) Corn prices R1,370 R1,650 R2,252 R2,655 94% 18% (R/ton) Sources: National Agricultural Marketing Council; Grain SA Trade With an estimated total corn crop of 11.4 million tons, post forecasts that South Africa will be able to export about 1.5 million tons of corn in the 2012/13 MY. Despite the unfavorable climatic conditions in the 2011/12 MY, South Africa is expected to continue to be a net exporter of corn due to the increase of hectares planted with corn. Post estimates that these exports will also be around 1.5 million tons. For the 2010/11 MY, South Africa exported 2.4 million tons of corn which included 1.7 million tons of white corn and 710,334 tons of yellow corn (see also Table 4 below). Almost half of the corn exports (1.1 million tons of white corn) went to Mexico. Other major export destinations included Korea (302,259 tons of white corn and 45,234 tons of yellow corn), Taiwan (161,550 tons of yellow corn) and the countries neighboring South Africa (399,632 tons of white corn and 114,170 tons of yellow corn). South Africa imported 290,795 tons of yellow corn from Romania and Ukraine, which was mostly used at the coastal regions of the country. A small amount of white corn (114,500 tons) was also imported from Zambia and milled in the far northern parts of South Africa where there is especially a strong demand for corn meal from neighboring Zimbabwe. Total corn imports reached 405,295 tons in the 2010/11 MY. Table 4: Export and import countries for white and yellow corn (1,000 tons) MY 2010/11 (May 1, 2011 – Apr 20, 2012) White corn Yellow corn Export Destinations Botswana 150 22 Ghana 8 Iran 41 Italy 68 Japan 49 Korea 45 302 Kuwait 28 Lesotho 138 7 Madagascar 4 Mexico 1,131 Mozambique 65 15 Namibia 35 16 Senegal 2 Somalia 19 Swaziland 12 54 Taiwan 162 Venezuela 31 TOTAL EXPORTS 1,694 710 Import Suppliers Zambia 115 0 Ukraine 0 149 Romania 0 141 TOTAL IMPORTS 115 290 Source: SAGIS Prices SAFEX prices as of April 20, 2012, are shown in Table 5. Currently, white corn prices are at R2,179 per ton and yellow corn prices at R2,070 per ton. White corn and yellow corn prices are, respectively, 18 percent and 22 percent lower than three months ago, as prices are moving towards export parity levels again, illustrating the start of the harvesting season in South Africa. Although prices have moved downwards, white corn prices are still 30 percent higher and yellow corn prices 20 percent higher on a year-on-year basis (see also Figure 1 and Figure 2). Table 5: SAFEX prices for corn SAFEX Futures prices (as of 04/20/2012) Commodity 2012/05 2012/07 2012/09 2012/12 2013/03 White corn R2,179/t R2,136/t R2,169/t R2,200/t R2,208/t ($322/t) ($319/t) ($288/t) ($257/t) ($261/t) Yellow corn R2,070/t R2,072/t R2,103/t R2,125/t R2,140/t ($331/t) ($321/t) ($283/t) ($253/t) ($257/t) Figure 1: The trend in the SAFEX price for white corn since January 2008 Figure 2: The trend in the SAFEX price for yellow corn since January 2008 Table 6: PS&D Table for Corn Corn South Africa 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 Market Year Begin: May 2011 Market Year Begin: May 2012 Market Year Begin: May 2013 USDA Official New Post USDA Official New Post USDA Official New Post Area Harvested 2,859 2,872 3,200 3,200 3,000 Beginning Stocks 5,169 5,169 3,493 3,438 2,858 Production 10,924 10,924 11,500 11,620 11,390 MY Imports 300 400 25 0 0 TY Imports 6 6 300 400 0 TY Imp. from U.S. 0 0 0 0 0 Total Supply 16,393 16,493 15,018 15,058 14,248 MY Exports 2,400 2,405 2,000 1,500 1,500 TY Exports 2,839 2,839 2,000 1,500 1,500 Feed and Residual 4,800 4,950 4,850 4,950 5,050 FSI Consumption 5,700 5,700 5,750 5,750 5,850 Total Consumption 10,500 10,650 10,600 10,700 10,900 Ending Stocks 3,493 3,438 2,418 2,858 1,848 Total Distribution 16,393 16,493 15,018 15,058 14,248 1000 HA, 1000 MT, MT/HA
Posted: 13 May 2012

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