South African Agricultural Commodities Weekly Wrap

The weather was a key focus this week, not only because the 2018/19 summer grain planting window has recently opened in the eastern and central parts of South Africa, but also because of the mixed weather prospects for the season.

 The local weather agency forecast a likelihood of above-normal rainfall between November 2018 and January 2019, with dryness later in summer. Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology placed the chances of an El Niño event developing this year at 70 percent, up from the previous estimate of 55 percent.

 This means that even if the summer crops could have a good start of the season, the pollination stages could fall under the dry spell which might negatively affect the yields. At the moment, it is unclear how farmers will react to this. We will have a better view when the Crop Estimate Committee releases the plantings intentions data on 25 October.

Aside from the grain and oilseed market, the SAFEX beef carcass market experienced a quiet week with prices unchanged from levels seen last week. In terms of the supply, the South African farmers slaughtered 211 951 head of cattle in August 2018, down by 11 percent from August 2017 due to the herd rebuilding process after a reduction during the 2015-16 drought.