Free State farmers at risk of financial ruin due to heat, poor rains

Farm workers in the Free State
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Farmers in the Free State say they have lost almost all their investments due to the excessive heat and lack of rain.

Reacting to recent rainfalls, Thaba Nchu-based farmer and member of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa, Moji Kodisang says although parts of the province have seen good rains this comes a little too late for many.

“Although we appreciate that we did get some rain and it will be of help maybe for some dams which were empty then at least this rain will be able to refill those dams; but in the case of us, the crop, it won’t assist. Especially like for instance now we were supposed to plant oats in February but due to this excessive heat we couldn’t prepare the soil and plant.”

Commercial farmers‘ advocacy group – Free State Agriculture believes that the recent rain will have varied effects for farmers.

The organisation says the rain can still help to increase ground water and give hope for winter crops like wheat.

The farmers’ organisation says this year’s maize production has recorded a 20%  reduction compared to last year.

The organisation’s commercial manager Jack Amour, “For the livestock farmers, the rain is wonderful going into winter with a little more velds is very positive. But unfortunately for the crop farmers, especially those who planted late, the soyas and the miellies even some of the sunflower crops planted late, the dry spell we had was just too much and it rained now too late. So the rain now is not going to help those crops.”

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