• Almond acreage across California has continued to increase over the past few years, reports USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

  • The latest data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) shows that South Africa has slipped down the rankings of the world’s biggest wine producers, as a three-year drought in hit output.

  • The report says it “can be considered an interdisciplinary science leading to breakthroughs and incremental technology advances to improve agricultural productivity, efficiency, and/or sustainability.”

  • A changing political landscape, as well as atypical season lengths and volumes, has had a marked impact on the European table grape industry over the last few months, says Robert van Melle, the head of grapes at Origin Fruit Direct.

  • The Western Cape is the leading producer of South Africa’s winter crops, which are wheat, barley and canola. It is also in this province where plantings typically begin at the end of April, while in other provinces it's around midyear.

  • Wet field conditions in the United States are a huge concern for many producers and analysts.

  • The hardening positions by the US and China on their year-old trade war ahead of high-stakes talks in Washington, will likely have an impact on June’s petrol price in South Africa, along with the introduction of a carbon tax by the local government.

    As an importer of oil products, South Africa is already sensitive to changes in the international oil price.

    This week, US president Donald Trump threw trade talks between the world’s two largest economies into disarray as he threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese imports, roiling global markets.

    Trump threatened not only to more than double tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports to the US, but also raised the possibility of imposing a 25% tariff on an additional $325 billion of goods.

    Bloomberg reported that China’s top trade envoy, vice premier Liu He, is due to land in the US capital on Thursday afternoon and go immediately into discussions with Trump’s top negotiator, Robert Lighthizer.

    And trade war concerns, along with a global oversupply of oil, has caused Brent crude prices down towards $70 a barrel.

    Impact on South Africa

    For South Africa, a drop in oil prices would point to a short-term win. According to the latest data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) of South Africa, the most recent drop in the price is having a net positive effect on the outlook for local petrol prices.

  • 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.

  • If there's one word that currently applies to the strawberry market, it is "recovery." There was an early start of the season which was not in line with the demand for strawberries, so the situation was dramatic.

  • At an indoor farm in Silicon Valley, California, a mobile robot carries a tray of tiny plants—curly kale, Romaine lettuce, basil—to a robotic arm, which transplants them into a bigger tray to grow to size.

  • Despite growing beef cattle inventories since 2014, dairy animals have been a stable source of beef and continue to play a key role in filling U.S. beef demand.

  • Almost all the world’s countries have agreed on a deal aimed at restricting shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic waste to poorer countries, the United Nations announced on Friday.

  • The US yellow corn price declined by 3.6% week-on-week, this is a 17.3% decline in price compared to a year ago. The USDA crop progress report
    shows that only 30% of the corn crop has been planted to date; this is in comparison to last year when 59% of the corn crop had been planted by this time.

  • The greatly excessive use of antibiotics in food production in recent decades has made many bacteria more resistant to antibiotics.

  • Blueberry cultivation is relatively new worldwide. The global demand for the product continues to grow, mainly due to the healthy properties attributed to the fruit.

  • SA is not in a great position to take advantage of the US-China trade war, but there are opportunities on the margins.

  •  Lifted by sluggish population growth and record imports, per capita consumption of flour edged upward in 2018, topping 132 lbs for the first time since 2015, according to data published by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At 132.1 lbs, per capita consumption of flour was up 0.3 lbs, or a quarter of one per cent, from 131.8 in 2017 and compared with 131.7 in 2016.

  • The U.S. organic market in 2018 shattered the US$50 billion mark for the first time, with sales hitting a record US$52.5 billion, up 6.3% from the previous year.

  • A tractor running in the field across the road woke me this morning. As an ex-farmer, I was looking forward to sleeping another hour, but it was a good sound. As an alarm clock, it was a month late.

  • Extreme heat has gripped the northern hemisphere in recent months, and the year 2018 is on track to be among the hottest ever recorded. Higher global temperatures are expected to have detrimental effects on our natural environments and our physical health, but what will they do to our mental health?