If one drives from the northern regions of  South Africa towards  the Western Cape via the N1 now, it is easy to notice a stark contrast between the landscapes on either side of the road. On the eastern side farmers will already be tilling the land, while on the western side ploughing does not start before mid-November.

This contrast is a result of regional variation in optimal summer crop planting times. Depending on rainfall, the eastern regions start planting yellow maize and soybeans in mid-October while the western regions, which lag by a month, plant white maize and sunflower seed, among other crops...

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