This season is the third out of five production years that did not go well due to climate conditions. Reuters African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Grain producers in the Western Cape say the unusually warm weather, along with little rain, will result in a reduced harvest.

According to the third crop estimate, wheat production dropped from 1.86million tons in 2018 to 1.69 million tons in 2019. Although more hectares were planted in the Western Cape, year-on-year production decreased by 208000 tons.

According to GrainSA, this is the third season out of five production years that did not go well because of climate conditions. Domestic production appeared very promising at the start of the season, but dry and warm conditions in August and September dampened yields and also reflected in the downward adjustment within the crop forecast.

The organisation said the fall in yields had placed financial pressure on producers.

“Grain SA is very concerned about the financial position of producers due to the impact of the drought,” said GrainSA marketing manager Dirk Strydom. “In terms of barley production, there is great concern as a large quantity of the harvested barley is not obtaining malt grading and must therefore be marketed and utilised as feed. This is a direct result of weather conditions which affect quality.

“If malting barley intake falls below current specifications, it is problematic for producers, who will receive far lower prices for barley.”

He said a highlight of the season was the new wheat-grading specifications that were implemented by industry. Within the wheat market, a large amount of grain delivered falls within the new super-grade specification due to high protein levels, which as a result earns producers 2% above Safex wheat prices. “Grain SA is grateful that producers can take advantage of this,” said Strydom.

The summer rainfall region’s planting date for summer crops has kicked off to the east of the country without any significant rainfall to support it.

“In terms of drought, there is minimal assistance from funding structures that specifically assist grain producers. It once again demonstrates how absolutely necessary aid is in terms of crop insurance for producers, which will ensure their survival in the difficult and challenging climate cycles by meeting financial obligations,” said Strydom.

He said the poor rainfall and the warm weather was “very disappointing” for producers.

@Mtuzeli

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