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The 2018/19 winter wheat is likely to be one of South Africa’s large harvests

The 2018/19 winter wheat is likely to be one of South Africa’s large harvests, thanks to favourable weather conditions and an expansion in area planted. The rainfall and cold temperatures experienced in the past two weeks in the Western Cape province could boost the yields in most regions. The feedback from farmers in most parts of the province has been quite positive in terms of yield expectations. 

While the crop in the Western Cape is at an advanced stage of development, other provinces are still at early stages due to differences in planting periods. But, the growing conditions are favourable in provinces such as the Northern Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape and Limpopo, amongst others -- all thanks to recent rainfall and improved water levels in the dams following good summer rainfall . Looking ahead, the weather forecast over the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces shows prospects of rainfall within the next two weeks, which bodes well with the crop.

 It is also worth noting that the recent rainfall in the Western Cape did not only improve crop conditions, but it also boosted dam levels as well. The most recent data from the Department of Water and Sanitation shows that the Western Cape provincial dam levels averaged 62 percent in the week of 17 September 2018, up by 26 percentage points from the same period last year.

Tomorrow the Crop Estimate Committee will release its second production estimate for South Africa’s 2018/19 winter wheat. The current estimate is at 1.8 million tonnes, up by 18 percent from the previous season. We do not foresee any major changes as weather conditions have generally been favourable since the last assessment.

Under the aforementioned production scenario, South Africa’s wheat imports for the 2018/19 marketing year which starts in October 2018 could decline by 33 percent from the previous season to 1.4 million tonnes. This is good for the country’s agricultural trade balance. AGBIZ


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