Lowest wheat harvest in five years expected

The severe drought across the country took its toll on winter crops and it is clear that this year’s wheat harvest will be considerably smaller than the harvests of the previous five years.

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In the fifth forecast for winter crops, released by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), the forecast for the commercial production of wheat is just over 1,5 million tons – 0,27% (4 100t) less than the previous forecast.

Of this wheat crop 208 000t (14%) are in the Free State, 259 200t (17%) in the Northern Cape and 713 000t (47%) in the Western Cape. The expected average yield for commercial wheat is 3,11t/ha.

The expected production in the Free State decreased by 7,14% (16 000t), while the Northern Cape’s expected production decreased by 1,37% or (3 600t). This decrease is mainly due to the relentless onslaught of the current drought.

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However, the production forecast in the Western Cape increased by 2,22% (15 500t) on account of farmers in some areas harvesting slightly better yields than expected.

The production forecast for malting barley has been adjusted upwards by 2,29%, to 349 487t while the expected canola crop decreased by 3,7% to 101 500t.