While summer-crop harvesting was in full swing in some areas in South Africa, crop quality may have been affected by late rains and early frost. Picture: Jacques Naude, ANA.
While summer-crop harvesting was in full swing in some areas in South Africa, crop quality may have been affected by late rains and early frost. Picture: Jacques Naude, ANA.

Crop quality may have been affected adversely by late rains, says agricultural machinery association

By Given Majola Time of article published May 6, 2021

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While summer crop harvesting was in full swing in some areas in South Africa, initial indications were that crop yields were good but, in some cases, due to late rains and early frost, crop quality may have been affected adversely, the South African Agricultural Machinery Association says.

Saamsa chairperson Karel Munnik said the April tractor sales of 540 units were almost 23 percent more than the 440 units sold in April last year.

“Year-to-date tractor sales are now 27 percent up on last year. In April, there were 43 combine harvester sales, 23 units more than the 20 units sold in April last year. On a year-to-date basis, combine harvester sales are now 29 percent up on last year,” Munnik said.

The excellent combine harvester sales in April reflected the need to harvest the record and near-record summer crops on the land.

Munnik said the overall agricultural machinery sales started picking up in the third quarter of 2020 and had been on an upward trajectory since then.

He said the trend could slow later this year, although estimates for the 2021 calendar year were encouraging, with tractor sales expected to be up to 15 percent higher than in 2020.

Paul Makube, the senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business, said the easing of fuel prices for the first time in 2021, on the back of a 2 percent decrease in international Brent crude oil prices and the rand strengthening by 3 percent in April relative to the previous month.

“Although the decrease is still small, it is most welcome as farmers are busy harvesting the summer grains and oilseed crops and getting on with the planting of winter crops. Any reprieve at the pump is positive as we head into increased activity in the agriculture calendar with high demand and consumption of fuel.

“This will help prevent further escalation in input costs across the value chains with varying impact on planting, harvesting, distribution and packaging.

Makube said it was important to note that closer to 80% of grain was transported by road from farms to silos, to the various harbours, as well as milling areas across the country. That had an impact on profit margins of grain producers and logistics companies in the agriculture value chain.

FNB Agribusiness said horticulture, with citrus harvest in its infancy, would also be affected in terms of distribution across the country and for exports.

Makube said livestock producers faced cost pressures as they transported animals from production areas to slaughterhouses.

“Moreover, the prices of inputs such as fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides are highly influenced by the levels of both the crude oil prices and the rand exchange rate. It is hoped that the current developments of rand strength and easing of international crude oil prices would persist and provide the much-needed relief for farmers and consumers and further contribute positively to containing inflation,” said Makube.

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