Growers may sow 505,600 hectares (1.25 million acres) with the cereal, according to the median estimate of four analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
This would be less than the 511,200 hectares planted in the 2012 season, which was the smallest area since the start of record-keeping in 1931.
The Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee releases its forecast on July 25.
South Africa, a net importer of wheat, is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the grain after Ethiopia and the region’s biggest importer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to US Department of Agriculture data.
Wheat for delivery in December fell 0.1 percent to 3,357 rand a metric ton by the close in Johannesburg.
The country will probably cut its forecast for corn production this season by 1.6 percent from last month’s prediction.
Farmers will probably produce 11.2 million metric tons of corn, according to a median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
This compares with the 11.38 million-ton forecast made by the committee on June 25.
The range was 11.05 million tons to 11.3 million tons.
Some of the country’s main growing regions, including the Free State province, which produces 40 percent of the country’s corn, haven’t received sufficient rain for crops to grow, which analysts and traders from BVG (Pty) Ltd., Senwes Ltd. and Farmwise Grains (Pty) Ltd. said will lead to lower-than-average yields.
“Current deliveries continue to indicate poorer yields for white maize,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader in Kroonstad in the Free State province, said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday.
South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of corn, also called maize, produced 12.8 million tons in 2010, the biggest crop since 1982.
Meal made from white corn is one of the country’s staple foods and the yellow variety is mainly used as animal feed.
White corn for delivery in December, the most active contract, dropped 0.7 percent to 2,378 rand a ton.
The yellow variety for delivery in September fell 0.9 percent to 2,210 rand.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/about-ukragroconsult/news-bsg/sa-may-plant-smallest-wheat-area-on-record)