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Barley scenarios for 2019/2020

September 2019

Ikageng Maluleke, Junior Economist,
Grain SA. Send an email to Ikageng@grainsa.co.za

In this article we look at different scenarios for barely production, given intentions to plant and average yield.

According to the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), the expected area planted for barley production for 2019 is 118 500 hectares (Table 1), compared to 119 000 hectares, with a final crop of 421 500 tons in 2018. 

Production is determined by area and yield; however, these two variables are contingent on weather. Considering the uncertainty brought by weather on intentions to plant, this article hypothesises different scenarios using the Crop Estimate’s Committee area planted and average yield over the past three years as the baseline to determine production for 2019.

Table 2 has area planted on the x-axis with the crop intentions in the centre and yield on the y-axis. On the x-axis, we have 5% deviations from the intentions towards the left and the right, indicating that the final production could be 5%, 10% or 15% above or below the CEC intentions. On the y-axis, we have deviations above and below the average yield of 4 t/ha. Working from the centre of the table, if 118 500 hectares is planted and the yield is 4 t/ha, then production will be 474 000 tons.

Going towards the left of the table, if 15% less is planted (100 725 hectares) and the yield remains at 4 t/ha then the production will be 402 900 tons. Working towards the right of the table, if 15% more is planted above the intentions, with the average yield of 4 t/ha, then production will be around 545 100 tons. This exercise can be done for all area planted and yield combinations.

Looking at the ARC’s monthly standard precipitation index, severe drought over the far south-western parts of the Western Cape is visible on the longer time scales (24 and 36 months) as represented until end of May 2019, with signs of relief for the past twelve to six months. 

Over the north-eastern parts of the country as well as parts of the central interior, improved conditions are visible over the past six months (Figure 1) after the improved rainfall over those areas during the late summer/early autumn of 2019. Total rainfall during May 2019 over parts of the western to central interior extending southwards to the western half of the Eastern Cape compare well with the historically wetter May months. 

Over the south-western parts of the country, rainfall totals were similar to those of historically drier May months. Similar conditions are expected to prevail throughout the planting months. For crops that are under irrigation, it should be a reasonably good season, as dams across the country are at healthy levels.

Publication: September 2019

Section: Pula/Imvula