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Editor's note

Good prospects for 2024

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Crop Estimates Committee report of 30 January 2023 revealed a preliminary area of 2 637 750ha planted to maize versus the previous season's 2 586 100ha. It is postulated that a season that was not expected to be dryer than last year, may have favoured maize marginally over soya beans in some areas.

The area planted to soya beans reduced marginally to 1 036 600ha compared to 1 148 300ha in the previous season. Sunflower and maize plantings increased at the expense of soya beans. This is mainly weather-related.

The area planted to sunflower increased to 613 200ha from 555 700ha the previous season. The overall preliminary estimated hectares planted to summer crops increased to 4 407 750ha from last season's actual 4 392 050ha, which is a positive move.

The final canola crop planted in 2023 increased to 131 200ha and production yielded 237 450t. The previous year's planting amounted to 122 510ha that produced 210 000t. The total winter crop production increased from 2 665 300 to 2 759 120t.

Good rainfall

Rainfall, although uneven in certain regions, was excellent in terms of the previous season's winter crop and has been very favourable for the current summer crop. Given the favourable soil moisture, poor crops are impossible at this stage. Providing that the next two months remain favourable, we are likely to see excellent crop yields this year.

The previous season's crops allowed for a surplus after domestic consumption. According to the South African Grain Information Service (Sagis), South Africa could be exporting 2,94 million tonnes of maize until the end of December. The Supply and Demand Estimates Committee projects 3,6 million tonnes for the season. Soya bean exports hit a record of 596 155t (Sagis) at the end of December last year, with an estimated 600 000t for the season.

Commodity prices

Due to global supply, this year's price for grains has been significantly lower. This is a burden to producers but a relief to consumers.

At the end of January last year, yellow maize prices were approximately R4 600/t and this year it is at R3 600/t. Soya bean prices, in turn, are approximately R10 700/t compared to last year's R7 700/t. Sunflower prices are currently at R11 300/t compared to last year's R8 150/t.

We are excited about the prospects of an excellent crop in 2024 and look forward to its positive impact on the industry. Enjoy this issue of Oilseeds Focus and may you find the pages informative and empowering.