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Hot Weather Threatens South African Grain Crops
USAgNet - 11/12/2019

Farmers in South Africa are concerned that a drought and hot weather could delay the coming season's plantings of grain crops and damage yields.

"In certain areas it is very, very dry. We are concerned about parts of the Limpopo Province, big parts of Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and parts of the Western Cape," said agricultural industry body AgriSA Executive Director Omri van Zyl.

According to Reuters, maize and soybeans are the main grain crops in South Africa and farmers were hit by a disastrous El Nino-induced drought in 2015/2016 and faced late rains in the 2018/2019 season.

In the current planting season, severe drought linked to climate change has scorched land across southern Africa and U.N. agencies have warned that a record 45 million people face food shortages.

The region's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the International Panel on Climate Change. In much of South Africa, an unusually hot, dry summer has dwindled water supplies this year.

Maize planting in eastern South Africa - the continent's biggest producer - has been delayed, Grain SA CEO Jannie de Villiers told Reuters.

The South African Weather Service expects lower than normal rainfall from November to January over the eastern parts of the country, while above-normal rainfall is predicted for the western to central parts of the country.

Forecasts also predict below-normal rainfall conditions until March with higher temperatures across the country. The most critical time for yields runs from October to February.

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