Summer rain critical for crop production

Storage dams fuller than this time last year

Tuesday 22nd of October 2019

Good rainfall over most of the Western Cape’s winter crop area started the winter season relatively favourably. Farmers initially looked at very good winter crop yields, but dry conditions in the crucial months of August and especially September resulted in severe damage to a promising crop, says Johan van den Berg, manager of specialised crop insurance for Santam.

He adds that some areas, including the northern interior of the Western Cape and adjacent parts of the Northern and Eastern Cape, are still affected by severe drought conditions. Parts of the Klein Karoo are also still very dry.

Summer crop production requires rain to fall before any plantings are possible. The eastern summer crop production areas must plant before the middle of November and there is currently a race against time for rain so that these areas can cultivate and plant before the last acceptable period for planting.

El Niño conditions that were present from about October 2018 until June this year have changed to more neutral conditions that could favour rain over the summer rainfall Area in the mid- to late summer.

Short term forecasts, until the end of November 2019, are not very positive for summer rain – especially over the central to western parts of the country. Some rain is however still possible over the Western Cape before the end of November, with cold fronts still passing over the southern tip of the country.

Posted by Anel Lewis