Good Rainfall, Good Winter Crop

It looks like the Western Cape is beginning to experience what the South African Weather Service highlighted in their Seasonal Climate Watch on 25 June 2018 — which was the likelihood of above-normal rainfall between this month and September 2018.

OK, maybe I am getting ahead of myself here – there were heavy rainfall and snow over the weekend, but not evenly distributed across the province.

That said, the weekend rainfall should not only benefit crops but also improve dam levels. The Western Cape provincial dam levels averaged 36 percent in the week of 25 June 2018, up by 2 percentage points from the previous week (ending 18 June 2018) and 13 percentage points from the corresponding period last year. Tomorrow (3 July 2018) we will receive an update for the week of 02 July 2018, which should show a notable improvement.

All this has brought optimism about this season’s winter crops harvest (official production estimates will be released at the end of August). I recently talked a bit about the Western Cape’s importance in South Africa’s wheat production (major winter crop), which is its 64 percent contribution to the intended planting area of 500 500 hectares in the 2018/2019 production season.

Furthermore, the weather forecast for the week (ending 6 July 2018) shows a likelihood of widespread showers over the province, which could further improve soil moisture and subsequently benefit the winter crops. Maybe the local weather bureau predictions are starting to materialise – will keep a close eye over the coming months.

I will comment on other field crops (barley and canola) and horticulture during the week. Let me stop, for now, I am needed in the kitchen to do the dishes.

Follow me on Twitter (@WandileSihlobo). E-mail:

Author: Wandile Sihlobo

Wandile Sihlobo is an agricultural economist and head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) in South Africa. He is a columnist for Business Day and Farmers Weekly magazine. Sihlobo is a member of the South African Agricultural Economics Association. He has previously served as an economist at Grain South Africa. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

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