After being paralysed by drought during a bad year for farmers in 2019, international organisations brought optimism about the country’s maize harvest for 2020. However, what remains a concern is the weather, as not much rain is predicted between now and March.
Although the weather forecasts from last year have been similar to this week’s as the country’s summer weather system pushes on, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo said two major agricultural organisations had positive forecasts for SA’s maize production.
“The US department of agriculture [USDA] and the International Grains Council (IGC), released their views about South Africa’s 2019/20 maize crop.
“The USDA anticipates a maize harvest of 13.3 million tons, while IGC sees a slightly bigger crop of 13.5 million tons. This far outpaces the 2018/19 season’s harvest of 11.8 million tons. This expected increase is supported by anticipated expansion in area plantings.
“As hopeful as I am about this season’s prospects, the two major risks that remain are the expectations of below-normal rainfall between this month and March and possible frost later in the season,” said Sihlobo.
According to South African Weather Service forecaster Tokelo Chiloane, it would be another warm week for the country.
“On Monday we will have rainfall in the eastern parts of the country with a 60% chance of scattered thundershowers expected in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga and isolated thundershowers in Limpopo, Gauteng and southern KwaZulu-Natal.
“On Tuesday, these conditions are expected to clear across the country and we will be expecting warm to hot temperatures.
“On Wednesday there will be some drizzle and cloudy conditions along the eastern escarpment where there will be fog in the morning.
“Warm and hot conditions are expected in the rest of the country.
“On Thursday we are expecting more drizzle and fog in the eastern parts, with isolated showers and thundershowers in Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and eastern parts of the Eastern Cape.
“On Friday there will be partly cloudy to cloudy conditions in the eastern parts while the western parts of the country will see warm to hot temperatures. The northern parts of the country will see hot to extremely hot temperatures.”