Dr Frikkie Maré, agricultural economist and academic head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State, gives a monthly agricultural market overview of the previous month’s markets. This is the agricultural market overview for April 2021.

Maize market

The price of yellow maize was slightly volatile during April. However, it still moved upwards for most of the month and closed at R3 415/ton.

Yellow maize price. (Source: Stats SA)

Economic indicators

During April, the rand traded fairly steadily against the major currencies and closed at R14,49 and R17,42 against the dollar and euro, respectively. Both the consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) rose during March to 3,2 and 5,2%, respectively. The prime lending rate remains constant at 7%.

Economic growth for the fourth quarter of 2020, represented by gross domestic product (GDP), once again performed slightly better than in the previous quarter. However, the economy was still 4,1% smaller than a year ago. Some good news is that the economic contraction was less than expected in 2020, with the total contraction for the year at 7% compared to 2019.

Exchange rate. (Source: Grain SA)
Economic indicators. (Source: Stats SA)
Economic growth. (Source: Stats SA)

Red meat market

During April, sheep carcass prices were volatile, while lamb carcass prices increased steadily. The price of beef carcasses was also volatile, but continued moving sideways. According to the last available prices for April, A2, B2 and C2 sheep carcasses were R85,95/kg, R67,23/kg and R64,81/kg, respectively. The prices of beef carcasses were R51,90/kg, R47,33/kg and R44,12/kg for the respective A, B and C grades.

During April, the price of weaner lambs and calves increased. The last available prices for April were R43,30/kg for weaned lambs and R37,49/kg for weaner calves.

The prices of hides, Dorper and Merino skins seem rather volatile at the moment. Yet the good news is still the big increase in the price of hides from the prices at the beginning of the year.

Sheep. (Source: RMAA)
Beef. (Source: RMAA)
Weaner calf and weaner lamb. (Source: RMAA)
Skins and hides (Source: RMAA)

Wool and mohair market

The wool indicator price increased by 3,7% during the last auction of April compared to the previous auction and traded 14,2% higher than the previous year. During the last auction in April, the indicator price of mohair increased by 3% from the previous auction and traded 64,9% higher than a year ago.

Wool market. (Source: Cape Wools SA)
Wool market. (Source: Cape Wools SA)
Mohair market. (Source: Mohair SA)
Mohair market. (Source: Mohair SA)

Dairy market

During March, both the consumer and producer price indices for milk, eggs and dairy products increased.

Producer price index. (Source: Statistics SA)
Consumer price index. (Source: Stats SA)

Click here to read the March 2021 agricultural market overview. – Hanel Mans and Dr Frikkie Maré, University of the Free State