SA could have the largest wheat harvest since 2002

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The Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) recently released its sixth production forecast for 2021/22 winter crops.

There were notable changes from the previous update of the end of December 2021, with wheat production forecast up by 3% to 2,21 million tonnes, which is the largest expected wheat crop produced since 2002, when it was 2,43 million tonnes.

The canola production forecast was also lifted by 4% from December to 197 000 tonnes, the largest canola crop on record. Meanwhile, barley and oats production forecasts were cut by 3% and 13% from December to 331 100 tonnes and 69 950 tonnes.

The Western Cape, the region that grows more than two-thirds of South Africa’s winter crops, received favourable rainfall since the start of the 2021/22 season, which boosted the yields and encouraged farmers to lift the area plantings for wheat and canola. This increase in the Western Cape’s wheat production overshadowed the annual decline in the Northern Cape, Free State, and the Eastern Cape. The other provinces that registered a yearly uptick in production are Limpopo and Gauteng. Still, there are reports of relatively poor quality in some regions of the country because of the heavy rains during the harvest period.

While this is the largest harvest since 2002, South Africa will remain the importer of wheat. The import requirements for the 2021/22 marketing year, which started on October 01 2021, is 1,53 million tonnes. This is up by 1% from the 2020/21 marketing year because of a marginal increase in domestic consumption.

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