Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

Although there is uncertainty about the weather outlook later in the 2018/2019 summer season with talks of a possible El Niño, the planting period started on a good footing. South Africa has had well-timed rain so far which has 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 due to improved soil moisture in the eastern regions, as previously mentioned, as well as prospects of widespread higher rainfall in the first week of November, which will further uplift soil moisture and encourage farmers in the western areas of South Africa to commence with planting activity.

This is unsurprising as the optimal planting window for yellow maize- and soya bean-growing areas, the eastern and central regions of South Africa, opened earlier this month and is expected to continue until late November. The white maize and sunflower seed optimal planting window will only open at the beginning of next month (November) in the western regions of South Africa and continue until late December 2018.

As we have been highlighting throughout the week, tomorrow (25 October 2018), we will get a sense of South Africa’s 2018/2019 maize area planting when the Crop Estimates Committee releases its monthly data.

For context, South African farmers planted 2,3 million hectares of white and yellow commercial maize in the 2017/2018 production season, down by 12% year-on-year. In the same season, the communal farmers or non-commercial maize planting was about 314 835 hectares, down by 14% from the 2016/2017 production season. –Wandile Sihlobo

Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz, shares highlights in his update on agricultural commodity markets. Click here for the full report on agri markets for the major commodities.

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