Free State and North West crops urgently need rain

Sporadic showers have been reported in the Free State and North West between 18 and 20 January 2013 and no significant rain damage or floods occurred.

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Less than 10mm fell in the drought stricken areas of the Mareetsane, Ottosdal and Sannieshof districts, according to Santam Agriculture’s area manager: North West, Callie Buitendagh. He said there were some cases of maize on the lands turning brown and loosing leaves. Good rains have however fallen in the eastern parts of the province.

Buitendagh’s Free State counterpart, Cobus Claassens said grain in the province was looking relatively good. “I am however worried about expected high temperatures forecast for the rest of this week. Temperatures in excess of 34°C are expected. Isolated showers have been reported in the Free State over the past weekend, but we urgently need general rain.”

Maize producer Ben Otto from Wesselsbron had 22 mm of rain on one part of his land while nothing fell on the rest of his land some 8 km away. “We had very little rain in our district. The little rain that fell occurred in widely isolated showers. I am not aware of drought damage yet, but we urgently need rain to see us through the season. Most of the maize on the lands are fortunately still young because of the late rains last year and can withstand the extreme heat reasonably well.”

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