Rising tractor sales give hope
Share this article:
SEPTEMBER tractor sales of 724 units were almost 30 percent more than the 561 units sold in same period last year, according to the South African Agricultural Machinery Association.
The organisation’s chairperson, Karel Munnik, said that year-to-date tractor sales were now also almost 30 percent up on last year.
“Twenty-one combine harvesters were sold in September, 10 units more than the 11 units sold in September last year. On a year-to-date basis combine harvester sales are now almost 30 percent up on last year.”
Munnik said that market sentiment continued to be positive and commodity prices were holding up.
“The early rains have led to some farmers, particularly in the east, beginning to plant summer crops. Winter crop prospects are encouraging and this is reflected by good combine harvester sales in the Western Cape.
Industry forecasts for the remainder of the year indicate that tractor sales for the 2021 calendar should be between 15 and 20 percent up on last year,” he said.
Over the past week, the national Crop Estimates Committee released its update on South Africa’s 2020/21 summer crop production forecasts and the 2021/22 winter crop production.
The summer crop numbers were not surprising except for the 1 percent downward revision in the maize production estimate to 16.2 million tons, which was still the second-largest maize harvest on record.
Other crops production estimates remained unchanged from August, with sorghum and dry beans figures up by 3 and 2 percent, respectively.
The sector’s attention will soon be moving to the 2021/22 summer crop season, which began this week.
The Crop Estimates Committee will release the farmers’ intentions to plant data later this month, but so far all indications were positive, from a weather outlook to the tractors sales.
For the winter crops, the September release was the second 2021/22 production estimate, which brings minimal changes from August numbers.
For example, only wheat and oats production estimates were lifted by 0.5 percent and 4 percent from August to 2.09 million tons and 82 223 tons.
For wheat, this was roughly in line with the previous season’s crop of 2.12 million tons, while for oats, this was the largest crop on record.
The Western Cape, which grows more than two-thirds of South Africa’s winter crops, received favourable rainfall since the start of the season that supported the planting activity and crop-growing conditions.
The only winter crop that experienced a decline in planting was barley, as farmers cut its area sharply by 33 percent y/y to 94 730 hectares.
The production figures were also down, in line with the reduction in plantings. This was partly because of lower demand, following temporary bans in alcohol sales at various intervals since the pandemic and a large harvest in the previous season.
These winter crops had matured and were in good condition within the Western Cape and various parts of South Africa.
The second production estimates painted a positive picture, for example, canola production could also reach record levels of 195 000 tons (up 18 percent y/y).
The wheat production estimate of 2.09 million tons was down by 1 percent from the 2020/21 season, which was primarily underpinned by a decline in area plantings and lower yields in the Free State.
In its Seasonal Climate Watch report at the end September this year, the SA Weather Service indicated that “the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Enso) is currently in a neutral state and the forecasts indicate that it will most likely remain in a neutral state for spring, with a likely change to a weak La Niña during early and midsummer.
“As the country moves towards the mid-summer season, Enso starts playing an important role in the summer rainfall. As such, the increased likelihood of a weak La Niña during early and mid-summer is expected to be favourable for above-normal rainfall in that period.”