The 2020/2021 production forecast for winter grains is looking promising, with bumper crops expected after difficult production conditions during the previous season.
According to Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz, the 2020 barley and canola harvests were set to be the largest on record, while the wheat harvest would be the biggest in nearly a decade.
“The favourable rainfall that the Western Cape received in the past couple of weeks, as well as good soil moisture, have been of immense benefit to the South African winter crops. Some argue that if there are favourable rainfall in September, the country will be looking at a nice recovery in production this year.”
The Crop Estimates Committee’s (CEC) first production forecast for wheat was 1,96 million tons, which was 27,8%, or 427 230t more than the previous seasons’ crop of 1,53 million tons. The expected average yield was 3,8t/ha up from the previous season’s average yield of 2,7t/ha.
Sihlobo said the expected increase in wheat production bode well for South Africa’s agricultural trade balance, as South Africa was still a net importer of wheat.
Over the past five years South Africa, which consumes about 3,2 million ton of wheat per year, had imported around 51% of its annual wheat consumption.
He added that his calculations suggested that due to the bumper wheat crop, South Africa’s wheat imports could fall by over 300 000t in 2020/2021.
The CEC’s forecast for malting barley and canola showed that the barley harvest could yield around 505 215t, at an average of 3,57t/ha.
This year’s projected barley crop was 46,44%, or 160 215t more than the previous season’s crop of 345 000t.
The expected canola crop was 122 820t, or 29,28% more than the previous season’s crop of 95 000t, with an expected yield of 1,66t/ha, the CEC report said.
The CEC will release its second production forecast for winter grains on 29 September.