Changing weather patterns a challenge for South African farmers

Last month I painted a bleak picture of SA’s grain and oilseed crop conditions due to the dryness of the central and western parts of the country. So it is only fair that I present an update after good rains in the first two weeks of February.

Crop conditions have generally improved across the country, and are likely to be in good shape for some time as the precipitation forecasts for the next couple of weeks are positive, according to the South African Weather Service. The local weather bureau sees a possibility of above-normal rainfall over the next two months in summer rainfall areas, which should support the late-planted areas.

While this is a welcome development, it is worth noting that this is not a normal rainfall pattern for South Africa. The crop would typically be maturing around April, but this time things are different due to late plantings, on the back of delayed rainfall.

At the moment, there are two fundamental aspects that seem to underpin the weather factor in South Africa’s agricultural sector.

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