This season, South Africa is expected to harvest its biggest soybean crop on record, due to an expansion in planted area and favorable rainfall in the east of the country, according to Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz.
The recently released report by the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) for summer crops indicated that soybean production is expected to reach 1.93 million tonnes, up 2.38% or 44,850 tonnes from the previous forecast of about 1.89 million tons.
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According to the report, the estimated area planted with soybeans was 925,300 ha, with an expected yield of 2.09 t/ha.
“These high production volumes will lead to a noticeable drop in imports of soybeans and meal, which will be a good boost for the local livestock and poultry sectors, as there will be ample stocks available locally.” , said Sihlobo. The Farmers’ Weekly.
However, he warned that an increase in local production would not necessarily lead to lower prices.
“Local soybean prices are following global trends and as a result prices will remain high,” he said.
Jaco Minnaar, chairman of Agri SA, said that from a farmer’s perspective, it was encouraging to see that soybeans performed better in waterlogged fields than maize.
“It gives farmers an alternative crop [during wet periods]which was not available ten years ago.
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Minnaar said soybean plantations are expected to continue to expand in the coming years. “It’s exciting to see the plans [for] soybean seed [made during] the past 15 years to develop the industry, coming to fruition.
Last year, South African farmers had already planted a record 827,100 ha of soybeans and delivered a bumper crop of nearly 1.9 million tonnes at an average yield of 2.29 t/ha, according to the South African Grain Information Service.
Since 2014, the country has also increased its soybean grinding capacity, Sihlobo added.
He said that, generally speaking, South Africa needed to continue to boost vegetable oil production, particularly that of sunflower and canola oils.
“Rising world prices for agricultural commodities and brutal trade interventions by various countries are likely to accompany us for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The CEC production forecast for sunflower seed remained unchanged at 963,000 t, while the area estimate remained at 670,700 ha, with an expected yield of 1.44 t/ha.
Regarding maize, the CEC said the expected commercial maize crop remains unchanged at just over 14.72 million tonnes, with an estimated area of just over 2.62 million hectares and a average yield of 5.61 t/ha.
This was 10% less than the 2021 harvest.
The fifth summer crop production forecast for 2022 is scheduled for June 28, 2022.