Good Improvement in South Africa Soil Moisture

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Although there is uncertainty about the weather outlook later in the 2018/19 summer season with talks of a possible El Niño, the planting period started on good footing. South Africa has had well-timed rain events so far which have improved soil moisture for early planting in the eastern and central regions .

The planting process has begun in several areas and is set to gain momentum over the next couple of weeks. This is all due to improved soil moisture in the eastern regions, as previously mentioned, and also prospects of widespread higher rainfall in the first week of November, which will further uplift soil moisture and thereafter encourage farmers in the western areas of South Africa to also commence with planting activity.

This is all unsurprising as the optimal planting window for yellow maize and soybeans growing areas, the eastern and central regions of South Africa, opened earlier this month and expected to continue until late November. White maize and sunflower seed optimal planting window will only open at the beginning of next month in the western regions of South Africa and continue until late December.

 As we have been highlighting throughout the week, tomorrow we will get a sense of South Africa’s 2018/19 maize area planting when the Crop Estimate Committee releases its monthly data.

- For context, the South African farmers planted 2.3 million hectares of white and yellow commercial maize in the 2017/18 production season, down by 12 percent year-on-year. In the same season, the communal farmers or non-commercial maize planting was about 314 835 hectares, down by 14 percent from the 2016/17 production season.