The map below shows the potential in sugar yields across South Africa*.

*Data shows sugarcane yield estimates for South Africa allocated to mesozones. South Africa is ranked 13th in the world (SA Yearbook, 2005) as a producer of sugarcane. Average sucrose content of the South African crop is approx 13.5%, varying from 11.9 – 13.8% and inversely related to the year’s rainfall. It takes approximately 8.5 tonne sugarcane to produce 1 t sugar, varying from 8.3 – 10.0 t (SASA, 2005). Of the cane under irrigation, 72% is in KwaZulu-Natal (mainly Pongola and Mfolozi flats) and the remaining 28% in Mpumalanga (Statistics SA, 2002). Estimation of Sugarcane Yield was with the ACRU-Thompson Model equation which related sugarcane water use (total evaporation) to yield as Ysc = 9.53(Ean / 100) – 2.36 and where Ysc = annual sugarcane yield (t/ha), and Ean = annual total evaporation (mm).

Source: Schulze, R.E, Hull, P.J, and Maharaj, M. 2007. “Sugarcane Yield Estimation.” In: South African Atlas of Climatology and Agrohydrology. Vol. 1489/1/06. Water Research Commission.