• Variable climatic conditions, macro- economic fluctuations, trade wars and land reform policy uncertainty will remain some of the biggest factors impacting on the South African agriculture sector for the foreseeable future, according to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy’s (BFAP’s) agricultural outlook for 2018 to 2027.

  • With South Africa’s meat prices being in deflation over the past few months, one would easily assume that the beef industry has recovered from the 2015/16 drought which led to a reduction in the herd. Figure 1 illustrates South Africa’s cattle herd, and boy, we are not back to levels we were before the drought.

    So, where did the illusion that cattle herd has somewhat recovered come from?

    You see, the years following this period of higher cattle slaughtering when farmers couldn’t feed their stock — 2017 and 2018 — was for rebuilding the herds, which meant a reduction in slaughtering pace. This process was reflected on meat prices, which at the time were rising double digits, particularly from February 2017 until March 2018. Thereafter, we started to see some cooling off in meat prices, as slaughtering activity, on a monthly basis, began to gain momentum, albeit not back at levels during 2015/16 drought. In March 2019, South Africa’s meat prices were actually in deflation, registering -1.1%, according to data from Stats SA.

    But the factors leading to the deflation in meat prices wasn’t a recovery in slaughtering activity, but the ban on South Africa’s red meat exports following the outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo earlier in the year. The theory at the time, simplistically, was that a ban on exports would lead to increased domestic meat supplies, and therefore a decline in prices. It had less to do with the herd rebuilding progress.

    Because of this, the meat price deflation story could soon be over because of the following. First, a number of African and Middle East countries have recently lifted the ban on South Africa’s beef exports.  This means the impact of the foot-and-mouth disease might not be as severe as initially expected. Second, it is worth noting that South Africa’s cattle slaughtering activity is slowing, and this could add support to prices in the near term. Third, aside from red meat, poultry products prices could lift somewhat in the coming months, as there is likely to be an uptick in import tariffs.

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  • Ninety-three white farmers whose land was expropriated in Zimbabwe during former president Robert Mugabe’s rule have received US$64.4 million (€57.7 million) in state compensation since 2009, the country’s finance minister has told state-run media.

  • Drought conditions could reduce the South African corn crop by 20% this year, presenting short-term demand shortfalls in the region. The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently sent a team to South Africa to explore the situation firsthand and identify opportunities for exports of U.S. corn and sorghum.

  • Farmers have been using the weed killer glyphosate—a key ingredient of the product Roundup—at soaring levels, even as the chemical has become increasingly less effective and as health concerns and lawsuits mount.

  • Amid growing evidence and awareness of the impact of industrial agriculture on the environment, climate, public health, farming communities and local economies, an “underground insurgency” as Charles Massy calls it, is transforming the practice and culture of agriculture.

  • In his 32 years of farming, Steve Fourez says he’s almost never been so late planting corn and soybean crops on the 500 acres he farms in east-central Illinois.

  • A global study of land and agricultural methods shows dramatic differences in soil quality between farms that employ some simple management tools and those that don’t. “Clever farmers” show how we can make healthier, more productive soil.

  • Africa has predominantly a resource-based economy with agriculture and mining the most significant sectors. Farm gate prices for fresh produce agricultural products vary typically between 30% and 50% of retail prices.

  • Farmers make most decisions using their intuition’ noted Dr Nuthall when commenting on some recent research. Successful farmers work hard at improving their decision intuition.

  • Want to know how many farms there are in the U.S.? Curious about American farmers’ average income? What’s the average age of an American farmer? You can find these answers and much more, thanks to the latest U.S. Census of Agriculture, whose roots date back to the presidential administration of Martin Van Buren.

  • As the backbone of developing economies, agriculture not only serves to feed a nation but creates employment and, often, contributes significantly to the GDP.

  • African governments should enact policies that facilitate adoption of technologies and innovations required to transform small-holder farming, international scientists said.

  • Agri SA and attorneys, acting for farmers in some of the major exploration applications, have welcomed a victory in the anti-fracking fight after a US-linked petroleum firm withdrew its application to explore for oil and gas on KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) farms.

  • There is no shortage of scary facts in the major new report on climate change and land, a summary of which was released today by a United Nations–led scientific panel. Chief among them:

  • Late harvest and the rush to get grains out of the fields may present an opportunity to rethink the need for tilling fields this fall or not.

  • The agricultural sector is of key strategic importance in unlocking the inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development goals of Durban and the province as a whole.

  • More than half of farms will go bust if Boris Johnson forces through a no-deal Brexit, farmers are warning, as some join the campaign for a fresh referendum.

  • Here is a piece advice for Farmers- if it's still applicable. African and South African farmers maybe different accoding to USA and UK farmers- but their is alot in common.

  •  I noted that SA farmers have had one of the toughest years because of the combined effects of drought and animal disease that affected production and trade. But this is only one side of the story.