Welcome wet weather brings relief

Good rainfalls have offered some farmers relief from dry conditions. Rain was mostly concentrated over the eastern parts of the country with isolated rainfall over the central parts, said Grainvest weather analyst Louis Botha.

“Some good falls occurred in Bloemfontein and the southern Free State, from Lesotho up to KZN and into the eastern parts of Mpumalanga,” he said. “Otherwise it was just isolated falls, with 1mm to 5mm in pockets.” Bloemfontein received between 5mm and 15mm, Vryheid 65mm to 80mm, and Piet Retief over 80mm.

The Eastern Cape experienced some good falls along the coast. Drought-stricken farmers in Port Elizabeth and George breathed a little easier with the onset of heavy falls in the 60mm-plus range. In KZN, good falls of about 10mm occurred over southern parts of the Drakensberg and up to the Newcastle area.

Jim Coleman, a smallscale macadamia farmer near Mandini on the KZN north coast, reported good rainfall over the weekend of 16 October. The Mandini/Amatikulu area has been severely hit by dry conditions and rain was welcome relief – although it’s too early to say if the drought’s been broken.

Rainfall for the season – that is, the six-month period from October to March – is currently just below normal, with the possibility of late rain in the latter part of December/January due to an increase in the sea surface temperature, said Botha.