Almost every December holiday I drive from Gauteng to the Eastern Cape, not only to enjoy the majestic views on the way, but to also use the opportunity to do a mini crop tour. In a normal rainfall season the vegetation would be green all the way, particularly with recently-emerged maize and soybean fields, in the Free State and Gauteng, sitting between livestock pastures. I left Pretoria on Saturday morning with an inkling that this time around the journey would not be as amazing as the previous years as many areas have not received sufficient rainfall, and that that would have subsequently led to delays in planting activity. My suspicion was confirmed just as we left Johannesburg on the stretch to Kroonstad. This area was largely brown fields of soil preparation. That was mainly the case all the way to the Free State. There were, however, a few green fields, but those were mainly under irrigation. Conditions were somewhat worse in the southern Free State into the Eastern Cape, wit...

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