AGRICULTURE: Cape In Muddy Terrain
Recent Western Cape Business News
The unusual rain and windy conditions that raged in the Western Cape over the last couple of days is having a negative impact on the agricultural sector.
In the Stellenbosch area an average of between 50-80mm rain was measured over the weekend and farmers had to adapt their spraying programmes to try and prevent diseases such as downy mildew and Botritus. Tractors also find it very difficult to get to parts of the vineyards that are very wet. Although the rain damage seems to be mild, the strong winds caused a lot of damage to vine shoots and newly planted vineyards, especially in the Stellenbosch and Somerset West areas. One specific farm in the area has damage to almost 60% of its vineyard.
Similar conditions are experienced in the Paarl area with high rainfall figures of between 80-100mm during the last few days. The rain will cause quality problems on stonefruit that is ready to be harvested and the cold conditions can also cause both stonefruit and grapes to be harvested later than expected.
In the Caledon area the strong galeforce winds brought the harvesting activities to a temporary standstill earlier this week, but at the moment about sixty percent (60%) of the crop has been harvested and the current north-westerly wind helps to dry the existing grain crop.
The Durbanville/Philadelphia area were also affected by high rainfall figures that measured up to 73mm in the area earlier this week. Day temperatures over the next few days are predicted to be between 15-17 degrees, with the rain only clearing up by Sunday. This is especially worrying because the same area was hit by an unusual hailstorm about two weeks ago. These conditions will definately affect the grade of wheat in a negative way. Prolonged rain cause wheat to germinate, which have a negative impact on the quality of the crop. The grain harvest in the area is significantly lower that expected and crop losses on vinyards is unavoidable. With the current prices and expected de-grading of wheat after the rainy conditions, it will be unlikely that wheat farmers in this area will show any significant profits this year.
Agri Wes-Cape is monitoring the situation in the affected agricultural areas on a continuous basis to try and determine the extend of the anticipated crop losses and to give the neccesary support to farmers in the Western Cape.
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