Work Group Minutes

Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum
Combined meeting held on 31 January 2019 at the offices of the PRF and the Oilseeds Industry

  1. Opening

    Mr Gerhard Keun opened the meeting with prayer.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson, Mr Jozeph du Plessis, welcomed all to the combined meeting.

  3. Attendance


    Mr J du Plessis Chairperson
    Mr J Botma OAC
    Ms L Bronkhorst ARC-GCI
    Mr H Conradie Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr H Davies Eden Social Development
    Mr G de Beer Contractor
    Dr J de Kock PRF
    Dr J Dreyer PRF
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr G Heyns SACTA
    Mr M Jansen van Rensburg Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture
    Mr PR Janse van Rensburg Pioneer
    Mr G Keun PRF/OPDT CEO
    Mr R Küsel Producer: KwaZulu-Natal
    Mr C Louw Grain SA
    Dr S Ma'ali ARC-GCI
    Mr S Mapatla DAFF
    Mr E Makkink RolfesAgri
    Ms D Marobe DAFF
    Prof F Meyer PRF
    Mr W Oosthuizen Producer: North West
    Mr G Roos Producer: Mpumalanga
    Ms N Rousseau Bayer
    Mr A Theron PRF
    Mr K van Huyssteen SANSOR
    Mr WF van Wyk Contractor
    Mr N van Burick Landbouweekblad
    Ms M du Preez PRF


    Dr A Balarane NAMC
    Ms R Beukes DAFF
    Mr D Boshoff AFMA
    Dr E Briedenhann PRF
    Mr C Cloete RolfesAgri
    Mr W Cronjé OAC
    Ms A de Beer ARC-GCI
    Mr J du Plessis Producer: Kwa-Zulu Natal
    Mr D Kok AFMA
    Mr P Lovelace SAOPA
    Ms W Louw SAGL
    Ms W McPherson Medumbi
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer PRF
    Dr D Strydom Grain SA
    Mr D Uys Bayer
    Mr D van der Westhuizen Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr A van Vuuren NWC
  4. Personalia

    None reported.

  5. Confirmation of the agenda

    The agenda was accepted as it stood.

  6. Approval of minutes

    1. Minutes of the combined meeting of the Soybean work group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum held on 10 October 2018 and referral to website


      1. That the minutes of the combined meeting of the Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum held on 10 October 2018 be accepted as a true and fair reflection of that meeting, and that the minutes be referred to the PRF and Oilseeds Industry's websites for publication.

        Ms du Preez
        Steering Committee

  7. Current soybean price: local and inter­national

    Mr Louw reported on the current state of the national and international soybean and sunflower industry. He said the end of March 2019 had been set as deadline for the trade stand-off between the United States of America (USA) and China to be resolved. He noted that the trade stand-off between these two countries had impacted significantly on the soybean trade, especially on soybean prices in the USA. He provided an overview of the current international supply and demand scenario. He noted that Argentina and Brazil had experienced some production challenges due to weather issues, but that this would not have a significant impact on available stocks.

    With regard to the local market, Mr Louw reported that very good crushing levels had been attained during November and December 2018. He said according to the latest information, 743 000 hectares had been planted to soybean in the 2018/2019 production season, which was 108 000 hectares less than producers' initial intentions to plant. He noted that the stocks at the end of the current marketing season would be an estimated 530 000 tons of soybeans.

    Mr Louw reported that the hectares planted to sunflower locally had been much less than producers' initial intentions to plant, although more hectares could be planted if late rains were to fall in the Northwest. He said according to his estimated production figure, demand would exceed supply by far.

    Mr Louw concluded by providing an overview of current soybean and sunflower prices.

  8. SAGIS

    Mr Hawkins presented an overview of the local and international supply and demand situation of soybeans and sunflower, and of the current situation with regard to producer deliveries, as measured against the official crop estimates data. He also provided information on local consumption figures, local and international prices, and imports and exports, among others. Cognisance was taken that this and other data were published on the SAGIS website.

    The contents of the latest SAGIS Weekly Bulletin and of the latest Monthly Bulletin were noted.

  9. South African Supply and Demand Estimates Committee (SASDEC)

    Cognisance was taken of the latest South African Supply and Demand Estimates Reports.

  10. Weather and climate forecast

    Mr Botma reported that local minimum and maximum temperatures during the past three months had been higher than in the past, most probably due to global climate change. He said this pattern was expected to continue during the next three to four months. He noted that above average rainfall could be expected for the central and eastern parts of South Africa during the next few months.

  11. Crop estimates

    1. Latest crop estimates: Soybeans and Sunflower

      Cognisance was taken of the latest production and area planted estimates for soybean and sunflower in South Africa.

      Mr Botma said he would appreciate it if an indication of the market space available in the coming season could be given, so that producers would have an idea of the required area of soybeans and sunflower that had to be planted in a given year.

    2. Local soybean stocks

      (Resolution 11.2.1 of the minutes of the combined meeting of the Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum held on 10 October 2018)

      The Chairperson noted that GrainSA's concerns with regard to excessive stocks and a potential crisis in the local soybean industry had been raised at a previous meeting. He said it was decided that a smaller group of role-players would meet to discuss the matter, and added that a press release was issued after that meeting.

      Mr Keun noted that more meetings will be held to address further concerns.

      The Chairperson said feedback on progress made will be provided at future meetings.


      1. That feedback is awaited on progress made with regard to the issue of surplus local soybean stocks.

        Soybean Work Group and SSSFF

  12. Producer matters

    1. KwaZulu-Natal

      1. General

        Mr Küsel reported that the driest season on record was currently being experienced in KwaZulu-Natal. He said in some areas timeous rainfall had saved the day. He mentioned that most farmers had been able to plant the areas they had initially intended to.

    2. Mpumalanga and Gauteng

      1. General

        Mr Roos reported that good rains had fallen in Mpumalanga, but that excessive hail damage had occurred in some areas.

        Mr van Wyk concurred with Mr Roos. He said he was aware of at least two farms where as much as 3 000 to 4 000 hectares of soybeans had been totally destroyed by the hail.

    3. North West and Limpopo Province

      1. General

        Mr De Beer said he could confidently state that soybean production had suffered a knock in the Northwest. He reported that soybeans had been planted at a very late stage.

        Mr Jozeph du Plessis reported that the eastern part of Northwest had received more early rain, while the western side had for a fourth consecutive year been very dry. He said the possibility of multi-risk insurance on grain crops would be investigated.

    4. Free State

      1. General

        Mr Botma reported that seed companies he had contacted had informed him that soybean seed sales in the western areas had dropped by 70%, while national sales had decreased by 50%. He said he had also been informed that a lot of hectares were going to sunflower and maize, with a 15% decrease in the Northern Free State producers' initial intentions planted to soybean. He noted that producers in the eastern Free State had planted 95% of what they had initially planned to plant.

    5. Eastern and Northern Cape and South Western Districts

      1. General

        No report back.

  13. Research

    1. Soybeans

      1. National cultivar trials

        1. 2018/2019

          Ms Bronkhorst reported that it had been intended to plant eight trials in the cool areas, eleven trials in the moderate areas and seven trials in the warm areas in the 2018/2019 season. She said some of the trials could not be planted because of the drought and high temperatures, for example the trials at Bossies and Hoopstad.

          Ms Bronkhorst mentioned that some trials had been planted at new locations in the Northwest Province.

      2. Soybean rust

        Dr de Kock noted that it was too early to provide feedback on soybean rust infection, due to the late planting dates.

      3. Soybean web study

        Cognisance was taken of the latest soybean web study.

      4. Sclerotinia

        Mr van Wyk said he had planted two trials aimed at evading Sclerotinia by means of different planting dates, by planting cultivars with a shorter growing period and cultivars that could be planted at a very late stage of the season.

        The Chairperson reported that there had been extensive outbreaks of Sclerotinia on sunflower in the Northwest. He was informed that the issue of Sclerotinia and Alternaria on sunflower was currently being researched.

        Mr Roos reported that he was currently evaluating three new biological products against Sclerotinia on soybeans on his farm.

        Mr van Wyk said an article on Sclerotinia trials will be published in Grain SA's magazine SAGrain.

        Mr Keun reported that any number of Sclerotinia research projects were currently underway, with additional proposals that will be submitted. He said a representative of the Sclerotinia Interest Group could be invited to address a future meeting.

      5. South African Cultivar and Technology Agency (SACTA)

        Mr Heyns reported that the breeding and technology royalties on soybeans had been promulgated, and will be implemented on the first of March 2019. He said the implementation of the system was currently being planned, with an intensive media campaign that will be rolled out in the coming few weeks. He noted that a levy of R65 per ton will be payable in the first year, which will be increased to R80 per ton in the following year.

      6. Weeg&Wen Yield Competition (Maize and Soybeans)

        Mr Louw reported that Grain SA was working with Pioneer with the view to taking over the ownership and running of the yield competition.

      7. Rhizobium

        The Chairperson said it had come to his attention that full strength inoculation of soybeans on fields that had been planted to soybeans continuously seemingly resulted in repressed yields. He noted that this issue could possibly be researched.

        Dr de Kock said research had indicated that this was not the case.

        Mr Küsel said according to a company that produced inoculants there was a risk of competition between strains when different inoculants were used from year to year. Mr Louw said the matter will be addressed in the new regulations.

    2. Sunflower

      1. National cultivar trials

        Dr Ma'ali reported that 24 cultivars are being evaluated in the 2018-2019 season, with five seed companies taking part in the trials.

    3. Income and cost budgets

      Mr Keun reported that the income and cost budgets for both summer and winter crops are available on the PRF's website. He said the budgets were updated on an annual basis.

  14. Seed

    1. Soybeans

      1. Non-GM seed

        Mr Botma said there was an increasing demand for non-GM soybean seed in the human food market.

      2. Other

        No feedback.

    2. Sunflower

      No feedback.

  15. Technology transfer

    1. Information Days 2019

      Cognisance was taken of the following information days that had thus far been organised for 2019:

      6-7 March Grain SA Congress
      14-17 May NAMPO Harvest Day
    2. Videos

      Mr Keun said the PRF and Oilseeds Industry was keen to receive information on interesting and informative videos available on the internet, with the view to publishing links to these videos on their respective websites.

    3. Oilseeds Focus

      Cognisance was taken that the December 2018 edition of the Oilseeds Focus had been published on the PRF's website, and that hard copies had been circulated.

  16. Soybean Food Association

    Mr Keun reported that the possibility of re-establishing a local Soybean Food Association had been discussed by the Research Priority Committee, and that it had been concluded that there was not much interest in such an association. He said the Committee had decided to visit some of the companies that produced soybean food, in an effort to get those companies involved in such an initiative.

  17. Other matters

    1. News reports

      Cognisance was taken of the news reports included in Annexure I.

    2. Articles

      Cognisance was taken of the articles included in Annexure J.

    3. Sunflower Highlights

      Cognisance was taken of the various editions of the Sunflower Highlights, included in Annexure K.

    4. LEAF Services

      Mr Hawkins reported the University of the Free State was drawing up a new business plan for the type of services that LEAF Services had intended to provide.

    5. Speaker at the next meeting of the Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum

      Cognisance has already been taken that a representative of the Sclerotinia Interest Group would be invited to address a future meeting.


      1. That a representative of the Sclerotinia Interest Group would be invited to address a future meeting.

        Mr Keun
        Soybean Work Group and SSSFF

    6. Low oil content of sunflower seed 2017/2018 season: possibility of minimum oil standard

      (Resolution 17.6.1 of the minutes of the combined meeting of the Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum held on 10 October 2018)

      The Chairperson reported that the matter of the dramatic drop in the quality of sunflower seed in particular and of the yields in general in the previous season had been raised at the previous meeting. He said the issue had been referred to GrainSA's Sunflower and Soybean Work Group, for discussion at their meeting on 13 February 2019.


      1. That feedback is awaited from Grain SA's Sunflower and Soybean Work Group on their discussion on the dramatic drop in the quality of sunflower seed in particular and of the yields in general in the previous season.


    7. Report back on trials at the University of Pretoria's Hatfield experimental farm

      Mr van Wyk reported that he was doing research on the influence of potassium on soybean yields and on the use of different herbicides on soybeans at the Hatfield site. He said he was also planting trials by means of which producers' questions could be answered on farmers' days at the facility.

  18. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be held on 23 April 2019.

  19. Adjournment

    There being no further business for discussion, the meeting was adjourned.