South Africa is on track to produce a record volume of canola, according to the first production forecast for winter grains released by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) this week.
The area planted to canola was expected to increase by almost 34%, from 74 000ha planted last year to 100 000ha. This, the CEC report said, was projected to result in a new record canola harvest of 195 000t, up 18% from last year’s 165 000t.
The outlook for malting barley was, however, much less favourable. According to the CEC, the malting barley yield for the coming season was expected to amount to 356 700t, which was 40% or 231 300t less than the previous seasons’ crop of 588 000t.
Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business, ascribed this large decrease in malting barley production to the impact that COVID-19-related trade and other restrictions had on the value chain, including bans on liquor sales, which reduced demand.
“This saw AB InBev [South Africa’s largest brewer and buyer of malting barley] reportedly reducing its mandate by 25% year-on-year from 475 000t (2019/20 season) to 380 000t (2020/21).”
South Africa was also expected to produce just over 2,08 million tons of wheat in the 2021/2022 season, a decline of only 1,6% compared with the previous season’s crop of 2,1 million tons.