Favourable weather conditions for winter crops
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SOUTH Africa’s agricultural production was on track, with the optimistic outlook now including winter crops such as wheat, canola and oats, because of favourable weather conditions, according to the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz).
The chamber’s chief economist, Wandile Sihlobo, said yesterday the recent seasons had largely been positive, as summer crops and horticulture have produced record yields.
Sihlobo said the positive outlook for agricultural production was not limited to particular crops, but extended to all sub-sectors, particularly where area plantings had been increased. The favourable weather conditions were the driving force of the optimism.
“For summer crops, we maintain our upbeat view that the 2020/21 season will show further improvement in output compared with the 2019/20 season. Encouragingly, this optimistic production outlook extends into winter crops, that is, wheat, canola and oats. The Western Cape, where more than two-thirds of the winter crops are planted, has received favourable rains since the start of May. Moreover, the cold weather in recent weeks has also provided conducive conditions for the crops,” said Sihlobo.
This was in a season where farmers intended to increase wheat plantings by 1 percent to 512 500 hectares, canola by 28 percent to 95 000ha and oats by 32 percent to 34 500ha year-on-year. Wheat planting intentions were roughly in line with the 10-year average, while for canola, current planting intentions were the largest in eight years. For oats, this would be the largest area planted on record.
Barley was the only winter crop that saw its expected area planting fall sharply by 33 percent to 95 000ha.
This was partly because of lower demand following temporary bans on alcohol sales at various intervals.
Agbiz said the weather outlook for the next two months would likely keep the crop in good condition until the end of the season.
At the end of June, the SA Weather Service had indicated that “the multi-model rainfall forecast indicated mostly above-normal rainfall during the late-winter season”.