MALTING BARLEY: SAB EMERGING FARMER PROGRAMME
The severe drought – hit South Africa over some years has not only had a direct impact on farmer profitability and the ability of farmers to service their production loans resulting in carry-over debts; has also made it difficult for banks to advance input loan assistance to farmers in subsequent years.
However, the huge variation in local climatic conditions provides opportunities for farmers in the SAB emerging farmer programme as implemented by FarmSol to produce one of the most important winter cereal “malting barley” required by SAB as an important ingredient for making beer.
According to the South African Weather Services, looking at the current 2019/2020 season, early indications are that the central and eastern parts of South Africa could receive above-normal rainfall between November and January 2020.
Most of the farmers in the programme producing barley are based in the Western Cape in areas around Caledon, Bredarsdorp and Swellendam where they produce barley under dry land as well as in the Northern Cape/North West around Taung and Vaalharts where the crop is produced under irrigation.
Malting quality barley
Early in the year, the farmers are offered a guaranteed off take agreement by SAB for a specified tonnage of malting quality barley per year with a pricing mechanism linked to wheat futures.
“The 2019 barley season has not been an easy one; with drought affecting agricultural production negatively in the Western Cape; FarmSol farmers were also not left unspared; it was a promising start to the season as good moisture was received allowing planting to take place but dry conditions around August and September resulted in yields being re-adjusted downwards with some of the farmer cutting their barley crop for fodder,” says FarmSol MD, Aron Kole.
Kole explains rains also fell during the barley harvesting period in the Western Cape; and this had a negative impact, resulting in the barley not obtaining malt grading quality and being marketed and utilised as feed.
“Nonetheless; by the end of crop 19 barley production season we have been able to pay out profits of an average of R120 000.00 to a total of 63 farmers in our areas of production,” Kole says.