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Make GOOD, INFORMED decisions

January 2019

Farming comes with many uncertainties and therefore the availability of information at the farmer’s disposal reduces some of that uncertainty. The agricultural sector in developing countries is increasingly becoming knowledge intensive.

Farmers need access to reliable, timely and relevant information in order to remain competitive. A grain farmer requires different kinds of information according to different stages of the season in order to make informed decisions. This article highlights some of the important information farmers need to keep up with, in order to make good informed decisions.

  • Budgeting: Usually guided by available farm data; aids the farmer in making financial decisions based on a set plan and this is an indicator of the health of the business. 
  • Crop estimates: These reports give information on intentions to plant, then later, planted area and production. This provides the market with a solid expectation of the size of each crop for the coming crop year. This sets the tone for grain prices for the season. This together with the actual SAGIS available stocks report will give a very good indication of the price expectations based on fundamental information. 
  • Weather and rainfall information: This allows the farmer to make critical decisions like which crop to plant and when to plant. This information also assists the farmer to be aware if there is a drought looming, and to insure their crop. 
  • Disease and pest information: Helps the farmer to know the kind of diseases that affect his crop and how to deal with them. 
  • Inputs: Monitored input prices assists to keep the playing field level for everyone. 
  • Daily Safex price information and parity calculations: This will assist the farmer to make marketing decisions and ensure more market transparency.
  • Supply and demand information: This report gives an overview of the expected ending stocks at the end of the marketing season, which contributes to the fundamental factors in the price forming of the local market.

In order to remain relevant and up to date, farmers need to embrace new technology, through production techniques and accessing information. All this information is available on different platforms like:

  • Study groups and mentors: First hand sharing of knowledge and experiences. 
  • Grain SA website: Parity price calculations, daily Safex prices, input prices etc. 
  • SAGIS website: Crop estimates, producer deliveries, imports and export data etc. 
  • ARC website: Pests, diseases, new cultivars, training etc.

This information is needed at different stages of production and therefore aids the farmer to make decisions that are more informed.

Article submitted by Ikageng Maluleke, Junior Economist, Grain SA. For more information, send an email to Ikageng@grainsa.co.za.

Publication: January 2019

Section: Pula/Imvula