While the increase in diesel prices would usually be felt by grain farmers in the process of planting, good rain has allowed farmers in the central and western parts of the country to plant earlier, helping them stave off the effects of the recent diesel price increase.
This was according to Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, and Free State farmer, Anton Botha.
Effective from 2 December, both grades of petrol 93 and 95 decreased about 13c/ℓ, while the price of diesel 0,05% and 0,005% sulphur increased 19,86c/ℓ.
Wholesale illuminating paraffin also increased 28,86c/ℓ, according to a statement by Central Energy Fund.
Sihlobo and Ikageng Maluleke, an economist at Grain SA, said that fuel was an important component of grain farming, accounting for between 11% and 13% of grain production costs.
Sihlobo added that fuel usage was higher during the planting season, which meant that an increase in the price of diesel directly affected farmers’ production costs.
For the first time in years, Bultfontein farmers received rain as early as October, which was closer to what it was before the drought, according to Botha.
The early rain meant that Botha had been able to complete up to 70% of his planting by late November.
During the drought, Botha said that the planting season had shifted more towards December.
“The normal season for planting used to be between 20 November and 10 December. Because of the rain, we won’t use too much diesel for the rest of the season,” Botha said.