Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

The key highlight this morning (19 November 2018) is the prospect for good rainfall of roughly 20 to 90 millimetres over most summer crop growing areas of South Africa within the next two weeks. This will help ease the heat stress that was starting to build up in the past few days in the areas that have already planted, specifically Mpumalanga, parts of Gauteng and Free State. Most importantly, the yellow maize planting window is narrowing in the eastern parts of South Africa, which could be closing this week, and therefore improvement in moisture will enable farmers to complete the planting process. In terms of soya beans, the areas that have not yet completed the planting process still have time until the end of the year (2018).

The areas in the western parts of South Africa, which predominantly produce white maize and sunflower seed, have not received any notable rainfall since the start of the season. And therefore, planting activity has not commenced. This, however, is not a significant concern as the optimal planting window will be open until December 2018 in the case of white maize, and beginning January 2019 in the case of sunflower seed. Therefore, the expected rainfall within the next two weeks is exactly what is needed to stimulate the planting process.

From an area planting perspective, there is still some optimism in the market that the 2018/2019 summer crop plantings could reach 4,03 million hectares, up by 5% from the previous season. An update of this figure will be released at the end of January 2019. In the coming weeks, we will closely monitor the planting activity.

Aside from production conditions, most grains and oilseeds prices were under pressure on Friday, partly due to the relatively stronger rand against the US dollar. Today (19 November 2018), the Rand to Dollar (ZAR/USD) exchange, weather conditions and Chicago grain and oilseed price movements will be amongst the key factors driving SAFEX grain and oilseed prices.

Also, worth noting is that the dam levels have improved significantly in the Western Cape, thanks to the recent rainfall. –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.