As on 6 December 2018
With the optimal planting time for maize and soybeans that have passed some time ago, some producers still continue to try and plant a last few hectares (mainly soybeans). There are reports that certain areas are experiencing emergence problems with soybeans which were planted later; and although it is currently too late to still plant soybeans, several hectares have already been re-planted, while others may still be planted. Producers report that there is a lot of gerbil and cutworm damage. Currently very hot and dry, rain is urgently needed throughout most of the region.
Eastern Free State
The optimal planting time for maize and soybeans passed a few weeks ago. The Vrede, Frankfort, and Villiers areas are very dry; estimated that only about half of maize and soybean hectares there, have been planted with many hectares still to be planted. In the Harrismith area, ± 60% of maize and 50% soybeans have been planted. Fouriesburg managed to plant approximately 85% of maize with estimates that only 30% to 40% could be planted in Ficksburg, Clocolan and Senekal. Although the plant window lapsed, producers are still attempting to plant. Germination of planted crops varies from very poor to good, a lot of cutworm and gerbil damage. Widespread rain is critically needed; conditions are currently very dry. Production in the area are much later than normal and largely outside of the optimal plant window.
North West Central Free State
Producers in the North West Central Free State's optimal planting time for maize commenced middle November. Although a large percentage of land preparations have been completed, some producers are still awaiting rain to complete soil preparations. Minimal hectares have been planted to date due to drought conditions. Although virtually no plantings has been done in the largest part of the region, it was reported that Wesselsbron (15%), Hoopstad (10%) and Bothaville (5%) have planted some hectares. Expected that maize will be planted up to end-December, while producers will try to plant sunflower up to end-January. Conditions in the area are generally very dry and producers will commence with planting when rain occurs.
Producers in the North West Province's optimal planting time for maize commenced mid-November. To date, only a little bit of cotton was planted with no other summer crops that could be planted due to very dry conditions. Expectations that producers will attempt to plant maize until end-December, while sunflower will be planted until late January.
North / Limpopo
Conditions are generally very dry and no dryland summer grains have been planted to date. Sunflower can still be planted until end-February.
In the Northern Cape it is very hot, windy and dry. Very little early maize have been planted while ± 10% later maize have been planted. Producers are currently harvesting their wheat after which maize will be planted. Producers also report that loadshedding is creating severe problems. In Limpopo, producers have almost completed summer grain plantings. Reports of poor germination, very high temperatures and dropping dam levels.