Grain production regions desperate for rain

Grain producers are still concerned about the absence of significant rainfall, said Wandile Sihlobo, economist at Grain SA.

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In the past week the Free State and North West received pockets of light showers, but it was not enough to replenish soil moisture.

Rainfall figures for grain producing regions:

  • Eastern Free State: 13 mm to 30 mm
  • Western Free State: 8 mm and 53 mm
  • North West province: 8 mm to 40 mm
  • Mpumalanga: The province remains dry with the exception of Graskop which received 20 mm. However, this is not a major crop farming region. 

“The weather forecast shows a dry outlook for the next eight days across the summer crop growing areas, which is likely to worsen the conditions in crop fields as crops are already under drought stress,” said Sihlobo.

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Unfortunately the recent rainfall arrived too late for the larger part of the summer crop growing areas. However, Sihlobo said that late sunflower and maize plantings in the western parts of the country could still benefit from rain.

In terms of trading, Sihlobo said that this week SA grain and oilseed prices have seen good gains on the back of the weaker rand. This morning (8 March), the rand strengthened by 0,6% against the US dollar from yesterday’s level.

At the time of writing, the rand traded around R15,14. “A stronger Rand is not supportive of domestic grain and oilseed prices,” said Sihlobo.