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 March 2021.

Maize market

During March, the price of yellow maize peaked at R3 502/ton early in the month, after which it decreased systematically to close at R3 142/ton.

Yellow maize price. (Source: Grain SA)

Economic indicators

The rand strengthened against major currencies in March. The rand traded at R114,84 and R17,39 against the dollar and euro, respectively. For the month of February, the consumer price index (CPI) fell to 2,9%, while the producer price index (PPI) rose to 4%. The prime lending rate remained constant at 7% during March.

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. (Statistics SA)
Economic growth. (Statistics SA)

Red meat market

During March, A2 lamb carcass prices and C2 sheep carcass prices were slightly volatile, but still moved sideways. The price of B2 sheep carcasses decreased. The price of A-grade beef carcasses increased, while those of the B- and C-grades both decreased. According to the last available prices for March, A2, B2 and C2 sheep carcasses were R82,14/kg, R65,04/kg and R66,97/kg, respectively. The prices for beef carcasses were R51,71/kg, R46,49/kg and R43/kg for the respective A-, B- and C-grades.

During March, the price of weaner lambs rose, while that of weaner calves fell slightly. The last available price for weaner lambs was R38,22/kg, while that of weaner calves was R36,96/kg. The prices of hides and Dorper skins fell during the same period, while the price of Merino skins rose.

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

Wool and mohair market

The market indicator price of wool weakened by 0,7% from the previous auction in March this year and traded 11% higher than last year. The indicator price of mohair strengthened by 11,1% from the previous auction and traded 47,8% higher than a year ago.

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

Dairy market

During the month of February, both consumer and producer prices of milk, eggs and dairy products increased.

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

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