n Farmer’s Weekly - A sombre picture : global farming

Volume 2016, Issue 16010
  • ISSN : 0041-848X



Last year, South Africa received its lowest rainfall since 1904. The key summer crop production areas have been the worst affected, although the impact of the drought is being felt nationwide. In many extensive production areas,subsistence and small scale farmers, as well as commercial farmers, have been unable to provide feed for their animals, resulting in heartbreaking scenes. The impact of a drought on crop producers is immediate; for livestock producers it is evident later. Intensive livestock producers managed to maintain production during 2015. However, the weakening product to- feed ratio, driven by the higher maize and soya bean prices, has reduced profit margins. In the case of milk, higher production from the coastal areas has resulted in lower producer prices. The scarcity, and in some cases unavailability, of roughage has been a major problem. Silage yield, even from irrigated lands, has been far lower than estimated. Lucerne is scarce and available only at high prices.

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