As SA’s summer crop — which includes maize — is set to be one of the best on record, focus now shifts to the outlook for winter crops, specifically wheat. Alas, for wheat farmers the 2020/2021 season had a bad start because of dry weather conditions, and production forecasts looked bleak.

The Western Cape, which typically accounts for two-thirds of SA’s winter wheat plantings, experienced a delay of about three weeks in plantings. Ahead of the start of the season the crop estimates committee projected that plantings could fall by 2% year on year in the province. And after accounting for unfavourable weather conditions in other provinces, the committee estimated an overall 8% year-on-year decline in national winter wheat plantings for the 2020/2021 season.

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