Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum
Combined meeting held on 10 October 2018 at the offices of the PRF and the Oilseeds Industry

  1. Opening

    Dr Jos de Kock opened the meeting with prayer.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson, Mr Gerhard Scholtemeijer, welcomed all to the combined meeting.

  3. Attendance


    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer Chairperson
    Dr A Balarane NAMC
    Mr D Boshoff AFMA
    Mr J Botma OAC
    Dr E Briedenhann PRF
    Ms L Bronkhorst ARC-GCI
    Mr T Clark RCL Foods
    Mr C Cloete Rolfes Agri
    Mr W Cronjé OAC
    Mr H Davies Eden Social Development
    Ms A de Beer ARC-GCI
    Mr G de Beer Contractor
    Mr S de Jager COFCO SA
    Dr J de Kock PRF
    Ms P Dhlamini Eyona Agri
    Dr J Dreyer PRF
    Mr Johann du Plessis Producer: Kwa-Zulu Natal
    Mr Jozeph du Plessis Producer: North West
    Mr CA Fourie Producer
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr M Jansen van Rensburg Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture
    Mr PR Janse van Rensburg Pioneer
    Dr C Joubert NAMC
    Mr G Keun PRF/OPDT CEO
    Mr R Kusel Producer: Kwa-Zulu Natal
    Dr S Lamprecht ARC-PHP
    Dr K-J Leeuw ARC-AP
    Mr D le Roux COFCO
    Mr PTG Lovelace SAOPA
    Mr C Louw GrainSA
    Ms W Louw SAGL
    Dr S Ma'ali ARC-GCI
    Mr J Marais Madumbi
    Mr W Marais Producer
    Ms D Marobe DAFF
    Ms W McPherson Medumbi
    Mr D Minnaar Producer: Free State
    Mr T Mongoato SAGRA
    Mr PR Nieuwoudt Producer
    Mr W Oosthuizen Producer: North West
    Mr T Phasoana ARC-PHP
    Ms M Purnell Agbiz Grain
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Dr D Strydom GrainSA
    Mr A Theron PRF
    Mr I Tshiame GFADA
    Mr K van Huyssteen SANSOR
    Mr R van Niekerk Agricol
    Mr A van Vuuren NWC
    Mr P van Vuuren Producer
    Mr WF van Wyk Contractor
    Mr P Zietsman GrainSA
    Ms M du Preez PRF
    Ms E Harmse Contractor


    Mr H Conradie Producer: Mpumalanga
    Prof D Fourie North-West University
    Prof N McLaren UFS
    Ms L Mellet NAMC
    Prof F Meyer PRF
    Mr G Roos Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr D Uys Bayer
    Mr D van der Westhuizen Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr L Verhoef Agratech Trade
    Ms N Rousseau Bayer
  4. Personalia

    Mr and Ms Kusel were congratulated on the birth of their child.

  5. Confirmation of the agenda

    The agenda was accepted with the addition of:

    • Item 11.2 – Local soybean stocks;
    • Item 15.4 – News flash No 3 October 2018; and
    • Item 17.6 – Low oil content: sunflower seed.
  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 24 April 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 24 April 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

    Dr Briedenhann reported on the current state of the national and international soybean and sunflower industry. He said world soybean production had increased by 2,2 million tons to 369,3 million tons. He noted that the most important criterion at the moment was the harvest scenario in the United States of America (USA), where an estimated 35% of the crop had already been harvested, of which 67% was expected to be good to excellent. He said Chinese soybean imports had reduced by one million tons, due to the lower crush and oilcake demand. He noted that the trade stand-off between the US and China was very much part of that issue, with China seeking alternative protein sources to reduce their reliance on soybean oilcake. He mentioned that global soybean carry-out stocks had increased by 2,5 million tons to 108 million tons.

    Dr Briedenhann reported that sunflower production was looking very favourable, with European consumption being above the long-term average. He presented an overview of the local sunflower supply and demand scenario, and said a sunflower carry-over stock of only 108 000 tons was forecast for the end of February, which would be very supportive for sunflower prices in the short to medium-term.

    Dr Briedenhann said soybeans were currently trading above export parity, due to the major movements in currency, which the local markets had not yet fully absorbed. He noted that sunflower prices followed a very similar pattern. He said both the soybean and sunflower crush margins were currently very healthy.

    Mr Louw said despite the healthy soybean crush margins, it seemed as if all the plants were not crushing at full capacity, and that soybean oilcake import volumes were still significant. He noted that this did not make sense at all.

  8. SAGIS

    Mr Hawkins presented an overview report on 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 SAGIS website.

    The contents of the SAGIS Weekly Bulletin published on 27 September 2018 and of the Monthly Bulletin, published on 25 September 2018, were noted.

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

    Dr Joubert offered detail on the composition and purpose of the SASDEC, of the information sources available to the committee and of its funding resources. He said analysis had indicated that the supply and demand estimates provided by the committee were reasonably accurate.

    Cognisance was taken of the South African Supply and Demand Estimates Reports for May, June, July and August 2018.

  10. Weather and climate forecast

    Mr Botma explained that weather forecasts were predicated on various global observation systems, based on land, on the oceans, and in the air. He said his sources indicated that normal rainfall could be expected in the 2018-2019 production season, with prospects improving in the second half of the season. He noted that his sources had also indicated that ENSO, or the El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomenon, would probably remain in a neutral phase during the South African summer period. He said according to the Farmers' Weekly this implied that neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions were forecast, and that ENSO would not directly influence South African weather conditions in 2018-2019.

  11. Crop estimates

    1. Latest crop estimates: Soybeans and Sunflower

      Ms Scheepers provided an overview of local soybean production from 1998 to 2018, and of the five and ten year yield per hectare averages achieved. She said the largest local soybean crop on record was produced in the 2017-2018 season. She also provided an overview of soybean production in the most important soybean production areas, viz the Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal in the corresponding period.

      Ms Scheepers said it was estimated that 8,8% of the total area planted to soybeans in the 2017-2018, or 69 300 hectares, was cultivated under irrigation. She noted that the ratio of soybean to maize plantings had consistently increased from 2013 to 2018, with the ratio currently standing at 25:75.

      Ms Scheepers then provided an overview of local sunflower production from 1998 to 2018. She noted that 858 605 tons of sunflower had been produced in 2018, which was slightly less that the previous season's crop. She also provided detail of the five and ten year average yields per hectare, with the current yield per hectare being estimated at 1,43 tons per hectare as opposed to 1989's average yield of 1,05 tons per hectare. She then provided an overview of sunflower production in the most important production areas, viz the Free State, North West and Limpopo in the corresponding period.

      Ms Scheepers noted that the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) would publish data on the producers' intentions to plant summer crops on 25 October 2019.

      Cognisance was taken of the documents detailing the area planted and final production estimate for summer crops for 2018; and the revised area planted estimate and second production forecast for winter cereals for the 2018 production season.

    2. Local soybean stocks

      Mr Louw reminded the members that he had raised GrainSA's concerns with regard to a potential crisis in the local soybean industry at the previous meeting. He said he had noted that the expected carry-over stock of 700 000 tons of soybeans on 1 March 2019 and increased soybean plantings in the coming season, as well as the disappointing processing tempo, Astral's preferred choice of imported soybean oilcake for use in feed production and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles as far as soybean exports were concerned had led to GrainSA's concerns. He mentioned that he had also reported this matter to the Board of the PRF.

      Mr Louw emphasised that GrainSA was very positive about soybean production.

      Dr Strydom said the local soybean industry had made significant progress in the past five years and reiterated that the concerns that Mr Louw had elucidated on had to be seen as a red flag. He noted that the industry as a whole needed to strategise on the way forward.

      Mr Lovelace said although the industry had worked very hard to export soybeans in the past few months, the bottom line was that the quality of the current crop of soybeans was just not marketable throughout the world. He added that soybean samples had been sent to a number of countries. He noted that he would be quite happy to host a meeting to discuss the issue at hand.

      Mr Jozeph du Plessis said in his view it would be more appropriate if the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum were to organise a smaller meeting of stakeholders to discuss the matter.

      Dr Briedenhann noted that the international benchmark for oil content of soybeans was 18%, with local soybeans not even reaching the 17% level.

      Ms Purnell asked what the oil content of soybeans evaluated in the national cultivar trials were. Ms de Beer said she did not have the relevant analyses at hand, but would provide feedback at a next meeting.

      Mr Hawkins reported that SAGIS's data indicated that the weighted average oil content of soybeans stood at 17% for the last two years. He said this data had been provided by the oil millers.

      Mr Keun confirmed that he would organise a meeting of representatives of stakeholders in the soybean industry, so that the meeting could strategise on the way forward.


      1. That feedback is awaited on the meeting of representatives of stakeholders in the soybean industry, that would be called in order to strategise on the way forward.

        Mr Keun
        Soybean Work Group and

  12. Producer matters

    1. KwaZulu-Natal

      1. General

        Mr Johann du Plessis reported that soybean production was fairly stable on 33% of crops planted, and that it was expected that the position would remain unchanged in the coming season, although soybean plantings could show a small decline as a result of increased maize prices.

        Mr Kusel reported that production conditions in KwaZulu-Natal were positive, with some rain that had already been received in certain areas. He said producers were positive about soybean production, and had been inspired by the talks delivered by the world record holder in average soybean yields achieved, Mr Randy Dowdy. He noted that Sclerotinia would always be a problem, and added that continued research was essential.

    2. Mpumalanga and Gauteng

      1. General

        Mr PR Janse van Rensburg said he expected that soybean plantings in Mpumalanga would remain at the same levels as before. He reported that soybeans planted in the Middelburg area had suffered serious Sclerotinia and root-knot nematode damage during the past season.

        Mr van Wyk confirmed that Sclerotinia had been a major problem in Mpumalanga during the past production season. He said he had already started planting a number of Sclerotinia evasion trials. He noted that he expected soybean plantings to remain unchanged in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West and the Limpopo Province.

    3. North West and Limpopo Province

      1. General

        Mr Jozeph du Plessis said although producers in North West were concerned about the current soybean surplus stocks, soybean production in that area would definitely increase in terms of hectares planted. He noted that the profitability of maize production was the main reason for this. He reported that the western part of North West had suffered three very difficult planting seasons. He noted that any number of producers in North West were facing severe financial constraints. He said oilseeds production made financial survival possible.

        Mr van Vuuren mentioned that the current break-even yield for maize in the area serviced by the NWK stood at 4,5 tons per hectare, with the long-term average not exceeding 3 tons per hectare. He said this implied that producers in that area had to move their focus to alternative crops. He noted that sunflower and soybean production was expected to increase. He said cotton, dry beans and groundnut production was also expected to increase.

    4. Free State

      1. General

        It was reported that soybean production in the Vrede area was doing very well, with soybeans representing 33% to 50% of the plantings in the eastern part of the Free State.

        Mr Botma reported that sunflower crops in the Bultfontein and Wesselsbron areas had been very disappointing, and added that those producers would probably switch to soybean production in the coming season. He said he expected an increase of 10 to 15% in soybean plantings in the western Free State. He mentioned that producers were increasingly planting cover crops on lands that had previously been left to lie fallow.

        Mr van Coller confirmed that producers were increasingly interested in soybean production, although there was much concern about the high volume of soybean oilcake imports.

    5. Eastern and Northern Cape and South Western Districts

      1. General

        Mr Tshiame reported that the Grain Farmer Development Association (GFADA) was, amongst others, involved in the promotion of soybean production under emerging black producers in the Free State, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. He said the initiative was doing well.

        Mr Davies noted that there was a lot of interest in soybean production amongst emerging farmers in the Bergville area and in Zululand.

  13. Research

    1. Soybeans

      1. National cultivar trials

        1. 2017-2018

          Ms de Beer reported that 35 cultivars had been planted in soybean trials at 21 locations in the cold, moderate and warm areas respectively, of which three trails had to be written off due to limited rainfall. She noted that seven seed companies had entered cultivars for evaluation.

          Ms de Beer presented an overview of the success rate achieved in the cultivar trials that had been planted since 2007. She also presented an overview of the results achieved in the 2017-2018 trials. She noted that some of the new cultivars had performed very well.

        2. 2018-2019

          Ms de Beer reported that the seed companies had been requested to limit their entries in the 2018-2019 trials to only the best cultivars for production in the cool, moderate and warm areas respectively.

          Ms de Beer mentioned that trials will also be planted at new locations in Bossies, Hoopstad, Schweizer-Reneke, Leeudoringstad and Hertzogville in the North West Province in 2018-2019.

      2. Soybean rust

        No report back.

      3. Sclerotinia

        Mr van Wyk said his research had confirmed that Sclerotinia could be evaded by planting cultivars with a shorter growing period and good yield potential. He reported that Mr Allan, one of the Weeg&Wen maize and soybean yield competition winners, had used this technique during the past production season.

        Mr van Wyk reported that Mr Roos was currently evaluating new biological products on his farm.

        Mr Keun reported that any number of Sclerotinia research projects were currently underway, with additional proposals that will be submitted. He said BASF and Bayer had indicated their willingness to cooperate with the Sclerotinia Research Initiative.

      4. South African Cultivar and Technology Agency (SACTA)

        Mr Keun reported that the breeding and technology royalties on soybeans had been promulgated, and will be implemented on the first of March 2019.

      5. Weeg&Wen Yield Competition (Maize, Soybeans and Sunflower)

        Mr Keun reported that the winners of the Weeg&Wen yield competition had been announced in the Landbouweekblad. Mr Louw said sunflowers had been included in the competition for the first time.

      6. Rhizobium

        No feedback.

    2. Sunflower

      1. National cultivar trials

        Dr Ma'ali reported that the national sunflower cultivar trials had been planted for the 43rd season in 2017-2018. She outlined the plans and procedures that had been in place for 2017-2018, and said 19 cultivars, of which 32% were new entries, had been planted in 27 localities in North West and the Free State, of which seven had to be written off.

        Dr Ma'ali concluded by reporting that 24 cultivars will be evaluated in the 2018-2019 season, and that five seed companies will take part in the trials.

    3. Income and cost budgets

      Cognisance was taken of the latest income and cost budgets for summer crops.

  14. Seed

    1. Soybeans

      1. Snippets

        No feedback.

      2. Non-GM seed

        The Chairperson reported that neither the Oilseeds Industry nor the Protein Research Foundation had been approached with requests with regard to non-GM seed.

      3. Other

        No feedback.

    2. Sunflower

      Dr Ma'ali said ideally sunflower should be planted in December or in the first week of January to maximise yields.

  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 GrainSA Congress
      11-13 March SoyHH Conference; and
      14-17 May NAMPO Harvest Day
    2. Videos

      No feedback.

    3. Oilseeds Focus

      Cognisance was taken of the September 2018 edition of the Oilseeds Focus.

    4. News flash number 3: October 2018

      Cognisance was taken of the soybean news flash for October 2018.

  16. Soybean Food Association

    The Chairperson mentioned that the members had been informed about Prof Schönfeldt's project titled "Developing soya beans as a modern food commodity: consumer trends in the soya market of South Africa". He said the possibility of re-establishing a local Soybean Food Association would be discussed once Prof Schönfeldt's study had been finalised.

    The Chairperson added that GFADA was also involved in the use of soybeans for human consumption, as were Messrs Cronjè and Davies and the Vaal University of Technology (VUT).

  17. Other matters

    1. News reports

      Cognisance was taken of the news report included in Annexure H.

    2. Articles

      Cognisance were taken of the articles included in Annexure I.

      Dr Joubert referred the members to the news article titled "Geen differensiaal vir sojabone", which had been included in the relevant annexure, and pointed out that the JSE had consulted with representatives from GrainSA and other stakeholders on the matter before it was resolved that no location differentials will be payable on soybeans.

    3. Sunflower Highlights

      Cognisance were taken of the various editions of the Sunflower Highlights, included in Annexure J.

    4. LEAF Services

      No report back.

    5. Presentation: Suitability of the defoliating beetle Physonota maculiventris (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) for release against Tithonia diversifolia (Hemls.) A Gray (Asteraceae) in South Africa, Dr David Simelane, ARC-PHP

      Cognisance was taken of the copy of Dr Simelane's presentation on the suitability of the defoliating beetle Physonota maculiventris for release against Tithonia diversifolia in South Africa, that had been delivered during the previous meeting.

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

      Dr Briedenhann said two major issues were currently of concern to sunflower seed crushers, those being the dramatic drop in the quality of sunflower seed in particular and of the yields in general during the previous season. He noted that the oil content of sunflower seed had been relatively constant in the preceding years, according to the South African Grain Laboratory's (SAGL) data.

      Dr Briedenhann said an additional problem was that there seemed to be a particular region in the Free State where major problems were being experienced in terms of oil content. He noted that the industry suspected that a disease like Sclerotinia or Alternaria could be the causal factor.

      Mr van Vuuren reported that NWK was currently investigating the issue, with the view to its operation at the Epko Oil Mill in Lichtenburg. He said the average oil analysis on an as is basis was 38% in the previous season, with this year's average oil percentage thus far dropping to 37%. He noted that the final results were still being awaited. He said research had shown that any number of factors influenced the oil quality of sunflower seed, amongst which were cultivar types, planting dates, climatic conditions and fertiliser application.

      Dr Briedenhann said the point had been raised to create an awareness of the issue by members of the Forum. He noted that a separate meeting would be held to discuss possible solutions for the problem. He said a minimum cut-off level and incentivising the production of sunflower with a higher oil content would probably be up for discussion.

      Mr Lovelace said the industry would be happy to pay a premium for quality.

      Mr Jozeph du Plessis suggested that the matter be referred to GrainSA's Sunflower and Soybean Specialist Work Group for discussion. He said roleplayers such as Mr Lovelace and Dr Briedenhann would be invited to attend the meeting.


      1. That feedback is awaited from GrainSA's Sunflower and Soybean Specialist Work Group on their discussion on the dramatic drop in the quality of sunflower seed in particular and of the yields in general from the previous season; and on their discussion of those regions where major problems were being experienced in terms of sunflower oil content.

        Mr Jozeph du Plessis

  18. Election of chairperson of the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum

    Mr Keun said the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson were elected in alternate years, and were elected for a term of two years. He said the Vice Chairperson had been elected the previous year. He called for nominations for the position of Chairperson, and added that the person elected would represent the Soybean Forum on the Oilseeds Advisory Committee for a term of two years. He said that term would commence on 1 March 2019 and would end in February 2021.

    Mr Keun said members of the Forum had requested that the election take place by means of ballot papers, and not by show of hands. Following on the distribution of ballot forms, Messrs Scholtemeijer, Jozeph du Plessis, Keun and Dr Briedenhann were nominated for the position. Mr Keun asked for his nomination to be withdrawn, as he served as CEO of the Oilseeds Industry.

    Mr Jozeph du Plessis was elected with a majority as Chairperson of the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum and as representative of the Soybean Forum on the Oilseeds Advisory Committee.


    1. That Mr Jozeph du Plessis be elected as Chairperson of the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum and as representative of the Soybean Forum on the Oilseeds Advisory Committee for the term 1 March 2019 to end February 2021.

      Mr Jozeph du Plessis
      Advisory Committee

  19. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be held on 31 January 2019.

  20. Adjournment

    There being no further business for discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 15:30.