South Africa on Trend as Corn Acres Ditched for More Soy: USDA

April 3rd, 2018


Category: Grains

(AgriCensus) –  South Africa could see record soybean production and a dramatic drop in meal imports as it is forecast to switch corn acreage towards oilseed production in the 2018/19 marketing year, a USDA report released Monday says.

A record 1.6 million ha could be dedicated to oilseed growth in late 2018, with the bulk focused on soybeans, which could propel the country to a 2.4 million mt oilseed crop.

In so doing, South Africa is likely to tease area away from corn reflecting a trend that has been noted across several other major corn producers as farmers target burgeoning demand for soybean, and as the country itself has developed its crush industry over the last decade to cut meal imports.

The move has been fuelled by depressed corn prices in South Africa, which is carrying heavy stocks estimated to be at 5.5 million mt by the country’s crop estimates committee, with the current 2017/18 crop expected to yield another 12 million mt.

Consequently, “producers are projected to switch more corn fields to oilseeds, especially to more soybean plantings,” the report notes, with corn area likely to fall 10%.

Increased domestic oilseeds production is likely to drive domestic crushing as well, with the USDA estimating 2 million mt of oilseeds crushed could see a 14% drop in meal imports to 400,000 mt.

For soybeans specifically, area has doubled over the last decade, and is set to rise by a further 16% to 900,000 ha.

The increase is likely to make South Africa self-sufficient in its soybean requirements, having imported 28,000 mt in 2016/17.


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