Working Group Minutes / Soybean / 23 April 2019

Working Group Minutes

Soybean Working Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum
Combined meeting held on 23 April 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

    Present

    Mr J du Plessis Chairperson
    Ms M Bester UFS
    Mr D Boshoff AFMA/SACOTA
    Dr E Briedenhann PRF/OAC
    Mr H Davies Eden Social Development
    Ms A de Beer ARC-GC
    Mr G de Beer Contractor
    Dr J Dreyer PRF
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr G Heyns SACTA
    Mr PR Janse van Rensburg Pioneer
    Mr G Keun PRF/OPDT CEO
    Mr R Küsel Producer: KwaZulu-Natal
    Mr C Louw Grain SA
    Ms W Louw SAGL
    Dr S Ma'ali ARC-GC
    Ms W McPherson SABO/Medumbi
    Prof F Meyer PRF
    Mr R Pholo Producer: North West/Grain SA
    Ms L Rothmann UFS
    Ms N Rousseau Bayer
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Mr A Theron PRF
    Mr L van der Walt Grain SA
    Mr K van Huyssteen SANSOR
    Mr WF van Wyk Contractor
    Ms M du Preez PRF
    Ms S Brits PRF

    Apologies

    Dr A Balarane NAMC
    Mr J Botma Producer: Free State
    Mr H Conradie Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr W Cronjé OAC
    Prof D Fourie NWU
    Dr S Lamprecht US
    Mr W Oosthuizen Producer: North West
    Mr G Roos Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr R van Niekerk Agricol
    Mr A van Vuuren NWC
    Mr L Verhoef Agratech
  4. Personalia

    None reported.

  5. Confirmation of the agenda

    The agenda was accepted, with the addition of:

    • Item 17.5 – Weekly information on sunflower and soybean oilcake imports.
  6. Approval of minutes

    1. Minutes of the combined meeting of the Soybean working group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum held on 31 January 2019 and referral to website

      Resolution:

      1. That the minutes of the combined meeting of the Soybean Working Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum held on 31 January 2019 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
        OAC

  7. Current soybean price: local and inter­national

    Dr Briedenhann reported on the current state of the national and international soybean and sunflower industry. He noted that the United States (US) crop situation was currently the biggest factor in the global soybean price direction, with soybean plantings falling behind due to weather conditions. He said the trade stand-off between China and the US was still frustrating the industry. He reported that soybean prices remained weak, due to the big crops and poor Chinese demand. He said pig swine had resulted in the loss of a third of the pigs in the US, with a region in China also being affected by the disease, which had a major effect on the protein market.

    Dr Briedenhann said according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE)-Report, global soybean production currently stood at 360 million tons, and added that the Argentinian soybean supply was still slow in coming into the market.

    Dr Briedenhann reported that prices on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) were edging down.

    Dr Briedenhann commented that the work done by the South African Supply and Demand Estimates Committee was held in high regard. He said local supply was lower in comparison to the previous year, although the big carry-out stock made up for this. He noted that the local industry was about 100 000 tons short, compared to the previous year.

    Dr Briedenhann said although there had been some concern about the big local soybean stocks during 2018, he was of the view that the supply and demand situation would now become tight, but manageable.

    Dr Briedenhann provided an overview of prices on SAFEX. He noted that prices were trending down. He reported that local as well as global crush margins currently were quite poor.

    With reference to sunflower markets, Dr Briedenhann reported that world sunflower production was projected at 51,5 million tons, with Argentinian production slightly up. He said according to WASDE production would increase by 4 million tons. He said Ukraine was the largest producer at 15 million tons, with Russia being the second largest producer at 12,7 million tons.

    Dr Briedenhann said local sunflower production had decreased significantly in the current production season, and that there would be a limited supply considering the low closing stocks. He noted that upward pressure on sunflower prices was expected.

    Dr Briedenhann concluded by saying the weak rand value was mostly driven by US dollar movements.

  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.

    The Chairperson thanked Mr Hawkins and the SAGIS staff for their excellent work.

  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

    The Chairperson said he had been informed that a very strong El Niño system was expected to develop during the next summer season.

  11. Crop estimates

    1. Latest crop estimates: Soybeans and Sunflower

      Ms Scheepers delivered a presentation on the local production of soybeans in 2018 versus 2019 per province, of production in South Africa from 1998 to 2019, and of production in Mpumalanga, the Free State, North West and KwaZulu-Natal from 1998 to 2019.

      Ms Scheepers also provided an overview of sunflower production in 2018 versus 2019 per province, of South African sunflower production from 1989 to 2019, and of production in the Free State, North West and Limpopo from 1989 to 2019.

      The Chairperson thanked the Crop Estimates Committee for the reliable information provided, and congratulated them on their excellent track record.

    2. Soybean value chain

      1. Local soybean stocks/supply and demand

        The Chairperson noted that a meeting had been held in December 2018, to discuss ways in which the local soybean industry could be grown. He said there had been concerns about excessive stocks, the difficulties associated with the exporting of soybeans and the fact that some local consumers preferred to use imported soybean oilcakes. He said certain recommendations were made by the roleplayers present at that meeting, which recommendations have been listed for discussion.

        The Chairperson said the issue with regard to local soybean stocks had already been addressed by Dr Briedenhann, and it was noted that there had been an increase in crush and a decrease in production during the current season due to climatic conditions, and that available stocks had decreased significantly.

        Mr Louw agreed that there had been a massive turnaround in the situation.

      2. Quality of local soybeans and soybean oilcake

        1. Current SAGL information and additional requests by industry

          The Chairperson said the issue with regard to the quality of local soybeans and soybean oilcake was amongst those raised during the December meeting. He said although on average the quality was acceptable, there was variation in the quality from load to load. He noted that there was also concern about the industry standard.

          Ms Louw reported that the latest grain quality reports had been published. She said one of the major issues that had been raised at the December meeting related to the differences between the minimums and maximums and how to address those. She said comparable data for the different regions had been compiled for a number of seasons.

          The Chairperson said there had been some confusion about the way the different analyses were reported, and whether this was done on an "as is" or on a "dry" basis. Ms Louw confirmed that analyses were done on an "as is" basis.

        2. Feedback on industry study

          Mr Louw said there had been concern about whether or not the information that the South African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) provided was sufficient, and whether there was additional information that SAGL needed to gather.

          Dr Briedenhann suggested that a comprehensive in-depth study be done on the factors that influence the nutrient content of sunflower and soybeans. He recommended that the matter be referred to the Research Priority and the Oilseeds Advisory Committees.

          Resolution:

          1. That it be recommended to the Research Priority and the Oilseeds Advisory Committees that a comprehensive in-depth study be done on the factors that influence the nutrient content of sunflower and soybeans.

            Dr Briedenhann
            RPC
            OAC

        3. Benchmarking against international standards and quality

          Mr van der Walt reported that Grain SA had sourced some information on how international grading regulations compared with local regulations. He said data had been gathered on soybean grading in the US, Canada and Argentina. He mentioned that the US and Canada only graded according to appearance. He said it seemed as if Argentinian regulations were basically the same, although he still had to get absolute clarity on that.

          Mr van der Walt said as far as sunflowers were concerned, the American and Canadian regulations were basically the same as the South African regulations. He said in the US quite a bit of emphasis was placed on damaged seed. He noted that Argentina had a basis of 42% oil content, with premiums paid for higher oil content and deductions made for oil content below 42%.

          Mr Van der Walt concluded by saying that besides the Argentinian 42% oil content of sunflower seed, there are no other quality aspects included in the grading of soybeans and sunflower seeds according to the current information regarding the grading regulations in the US, Canada and Argentina.

          Dr Briedenhann suggested that the search be extended to include the sunflower production regions in the area around the Black Sea, amongst which Russia and the Ukraine.

          Resolution:

          1. That feedback is awaited after information on sunflower grading regulations in the sunflower production regions in the area around the Black Sea, amongst which Russia and the Ukraine, had been sourced.

            Mr van der Walt
            Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

      3. Pricing transparency

        Cognisance was taken that an application for the listing of soybean oilcake contracts had been submitted to the JSE, but that feedback was still being awaited.

        Resolution:

        1. That feedback is awaited on progress made with the application for the listing of soybean oilcake contracts on SAFEX.

          Chairperson
          Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

      4. Infrastructure

        Mr Keun said issues raised at the December meeting included infrastructure matters such as water and electricity supply and transport. He suggested that the matter be held in abeyance for discussion at a following meeting.

        Resolution:

        1. That infrastructure matters such as water and electricity supply and transport be held in abeyance for discussion at a following meeting.

          Chairperson
          Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

      5. Imports and exports

        Mr Keun mentioned that a legal opinion was being sought on the issues relating to the proposed statutory measures on imports and exports of soybeans and sunflower. He said feedback will be provided.

        Resolution:

        1. That feedback is awaited on the legal opinion that was being sought on the issues relating to the proposed statutory measures on imports and exports of soybeans and sunflower.

          Chairperson
          Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

      6. Grain and oilseeds value chain indaba

        Mr Keun said roleplayers will be invited to a meeting later in 2019, as a follow-up to the December 2018 meeting. He mentioned that the possibility of a grain and oilseeds value chain indaba was being investigated.

        Mr Boshoff noted that the Presidency had requested that a five year plan for agriculture be drawn up. The Chairperson asked that a five year plan be drawn up for oilseeds, and that feedback be provided at the following meeting.

        Resolution:

        1. That feedback is awaited on the five year plan for oilseeds.

          Messrs Keun, Boshoff
          Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

  12. Producer matters

    1. KwaZulu-Natal

      1. General

        Mr Küsel reported that the average crops in Kwazulu-Natal were looking surprisingly good, despite the dry start to the season. He said this could be ascribed to soybeans' ability to compensate for the late season rain.

    2. Mpumalanga and Gauteng

      1. General

        Mr van Wyk reported that harvesting had been 40 to 50% completed. He said yields were better than expected.

    3. North West and Limpopo Province

      1. General

        The Chairperson reported that the western areas of the North West had for the fourth consecutive year experienced a very dry November and December, and that the planting was delayed until January, which was very late. He said he was excited about the soybean crops, and that the sunflower crops were also looking good.

    4. Free State

      1. General

        Mr Küsel reported that soybean crops in the eastern Free State were looking good.

    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 de Beer reported that 28 cultivars had been planted in the cool areas, and 32 cultivars in the moderate and warm areas. She added that 16 new cultivars had been entered for the 2018/2019 trials. She said problems had been experienced with hail, low germination and Sclerotinia. She noted that no trials had been planted in the western areas, due to drought.

      2. Soybean rust

        Dr Dreyer noted that there had been no reports of soybean rust infection, due to the fact that most of the producers in the east sprayed preventatively.

      3. Sclerotinia

        Ms Rothmann presented an overview of the activities of the South African Sclerotinia Research Network, the reasons why the network had been established and what it was working towards. She provided information on the soybean and sunflower losses suffered as a result of the disease, on research being done, and on data storage and data flow. She said the intention was also to establish a community of practice, with a view to collective research. She noted that the community would consist of producers, researchers and industry.

        Ms Rothmann reported that a website was being developed, which would be interactive and functional and would include an online forum.

        Mr van Wyk said he would gladly support the work done by the Network. The Chairperson suggested that Ms Rothmann and her colleagues visit the trials Mr van Wyk had planted in Kinross, and also contact Mr Arno van Vuuren at NWK in Lichtenburg, especially in connection with Sclerotinia on sunflower.

        The Chairperson thanked Ms Rothmann for her presentation.

      4. South African Cultivar and Technology Agency (SACTA)

        Mr Heyns reported that all was going well with the implementation of the breeding and technology levies on soybeans. He said SACTA was interacting with the various stakeholders at different levels on a continuous basis. He reported that 40 000 tons of soybeans had been delivered in March. He said levies were payable when the grain had actually been traded.

        Mr Heyns said the reaction from the seed industry's side had been quite positive. He noted that five new biotechnologies were expected to be planted in field trials.

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

        Mr Louw reported that Grain SA was planning to take over the Weeg&Wen Yield Competition from Pioneer in the coming season.

      6. Rhizobium

        Ms McPherson reported that there was much concern about the irregularities with regard to the registration of inoculants. She noted that there were strict rules on biologicals, which should be adhered to. She proposed that the industry take the matter up with the Registrar.

        Mr Louw said Grain SA would assist in dealing with the issue.

        Resolution:

        1. That feedback is awaited after issues with regard to the the registration of inoculants had been discussed with the Registrar.

          Ms McPherson, Mr Louw
          Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

    2. Sunflower

      1. National cultivar trials

        Dr Ma'ali reported that the national sunflower cultivar trials had now been planted for the last 44 years. She said two high oleic cultivars had been planted in the 2018/2019 trials. She provided details of the methodology followed in the planting of the trials, and gave an overview of the way the cultivars had performed.

        The Chairperson said the highest average maize yield of 6,5 tons per hectare was produced in South Africa in 2017, while the highest soybean yield of 2,2 tons per hectare was also produced in 2017. He noted that the highest local sunflower yield per hectare of 1,55 tons was produced in 2007. He said there seemed to be a lack of genetic improvement of sunflower in South Africa. He suggested that a speaker be invited to the following meeting, to elaborate on the matter.

        Resolution:

        1. That a speaker be invited to the following meeting, to elaborate on the matter of the lack of genetic improvement of sunflower in South Africa.

          Mr Keun
          Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

  14. Seed

    1. Soybeans

      1. Non-GM seed

        The Chairperson remarked that there was a demand for non-GM soybean seed, but that there were problems in obtaining sufficient quantities of seed.

        Dr Dreyer reported that Sensako was quite active in the supply of non-GM seed to the market in Africa.

      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:

      14-17 May NAMPO Harvest Day
    2. Videos

      No feedback.

    3. Oilseeds Focus

      Dr Briedenhann expressed his gratitude for the valuable contributions to the Oilseeds Focus.

  16. Soybean Food Association

    Mr Keun reported that the re-establishment of the Soybean Food Association was currently being explored. Cognisance was taken that a symposium on soybeans in human food was planned for September 2020.

  17. Other matters

    1. Articles

      Cognisance was taken of the articles included in Annexure H.

    2. Sunflower Highlights

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

    3. LEAF Services

      Dr Briedenhann reported that a big effort was currently in place to revitalise LEAF Services.

    4. Speaker at the next meeting of the Soybean Working Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum

      The Chairperson said it had already been resolved that a speaker will be invited to the following meeting, to elaborate on the matter of the lack of genetic improvement of sunflower in South Africa.
      (Resolution 13.2.1.1)

    5. Request from Grain SA: Weekly information on sunflower and soybean oilcake imports

      Mr Hawkins suggested that a wait and see attitude be taken on the matter, so that feedback could first be obtained about the legal opinion that was being sought on the issues relating to the proposed statutory measures on imports and exports on soybeans and sunflower.

      Dr Briedenhann said it was not clear why the information was required, and how it would be used. Mr Louw remarked that transparent market information was the issue at stake in this instance.

      Mr Keun said the matter will be referred to the RPC and OAC.

      Resolution:

      1. That feedback is awaited on the proposed statutory measures on weekly information on imports and exports on soybean and sunflower oilcake and then a more informed discision can be made on Grain SA's request.

        Mr Keun, RPC, OAC,
        Soybean Working Group and SSSFF

  18. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be held on 9 October 2019.

    It was suggested that the April 2020 meeting be scheduled for early March, that the meeting be held at Hatfield and that Mr van Wyk's trials be visited at that time.

  19. Adjournment

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