Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum
Combined meeting held on 24 April 2018 at the offices of the PRF and the Oilseeds Industry

  1. Opening

    Dr Erhard Briedenhann opened the meeting with prayer.

  2. Welcome

    Mr Gerhard Scholtemeijer welcomed all to the combined meeting, and extended a special welcome to Drs Price, Simelane, Messrs Kusel, PR Janse van Rensburg and Ms Grobler.

  3. Attendance


    Mr GJH Scholtemeijer Chairperson
    Dr E Briedenhann PRF
    Mr C Cloete Rolfes Agri
    Mr W Cronjé OAC
    Mr H Davies Eden Social Development
    Mr G de Beer Contractor
    Mr S de Jager COFCO SA
    Dr J de Kock PRF
    Dr J Dreyer PRF
    Mr G Engelbrecht K2 Agri
    Ms C Grobler BASF
    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: KwaZulu-Natal
    Mr C Louw GrainSA
    Ms W Louw SAGL
    Dr S Ma'ali ARC-GCI
    Ms D Marobe DAFF
    Mr T Mbatha DAFF
    Dr R Price ARC-PHP
    Mr G Roos Producer: Mpumalanga
    Mr MA Sathekge DAFF
    Mr F Schoeman FSOIL
    Dr D Simelane ARC-PHP
    Mr S Stiles BASF
    Mr A Theron PRF
    Mr N van Burick Landbouweekblad
    Mr K van Huyssteen SANSOR
    Mr WF van Wyk Contractor
    Mr L Verhoef Agratech Trade
    Ms M du Preez PRF
    Ms E Harmse Contractor


    Dr A Balarane NAMC
    Ms A de Beer ARC-GCI
    Mr J du Plessis Producer: KwaZulu-Natal
    Mr J du Plessis Producer: North West
    Prof D Fourie North-West University
    Mr D Kritzinger Syngenta
    Dr S Lamprecht ARC-PHP
    Ms W McPherson Medumbi
    Ms L Mellet NAMC
    Ms M Purnell Agbiz Grain
    Mr J Rankin Producer: North West
    Ms M Scheepers DAFF
    Dr D Strydom GrainSA
    Mr R van Niekerk Agricol
    Mr A van Vuuren NWC
    Dr A van Vuuren ARC-PHP
  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 1 February 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 1 February 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

  7. Current soybean prices: local and inter­national

    Dr Briedenhann reported on the current state of the national and international soybean and sunflower industry. He said soybean and soybean oilcake prices had dropped significantly in the previous week, mainly as a result of the good weather experienced in the United States of America (USA). He noted that there was some concern regarding the Chinese and American trade problems, and added that it was unclear how the issue was going to play out.

    Dr Briedenhann mentioned that the outlook for Brazilian soybeans was very favourable, with 91% of the bean crop already harvested, which was ahead of the five year average. He said the expected Brazilian crop had been increased by 2 million tons, while the Argentinian crop was currently down to 40 million tons. He noted that this had an effect on the global carry-out stocks, and that prices could be expected to be firm. He said it had however to be kept in mind that the global stock/use ratio was extremely high, that a significant soybean supply was available, and that prices were unlikely to move significantly.

    Dr Briedenhann confirmed that with the drought in Argentina the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) had seen a slight upward tick in soybean prices.

    Dr Briedenhann said the South African Supply and Demand Estimates (SASDE) Reports was considered to be a very useful addition to the industry, and was a good reference to have. He noted that the current domestic soybean supply of 1,4 million tons was considered to be extremely healthy. He said a total crush of 1,1 million tons or slightly more could be achieved in the 2018-2019 season. He noted that there would be a carry-over of 300 000 tons of soybeans in the next year.

    Dr Briedenhann noted that sunflower was in a very similar type of scenario, with a total crush of just over 800 000 tons being expected.

    Dr Briedenhann said soybeans were following global parity prices on SAFEX, with the weak rand/dollar exchange rate playing a significant role. He noted that sunflower prices were way off export parity prices, although the price was still good. He said soybean crush margins were extremely healthy, while the sunflower margins were not as good.

    Mr Louw said GrainSA wished to express its extreme concern about the building up of local soybean stocks. He noted that approximately 300 000 tons of soybeans were available at the beginning of the marketing season, and that an estimated 600 000 tons would be available at the end of 2019. He said this had a negative effect on producer prices. He asked the members of the Soybean Forum to assist in identifying concerns and also to advise on how to address those concerns.

    Dr Joubert said the big issue was whether prices would be competitive enough to consider exports. He noted that the listeriosis crisis could also have an effect on the utilisation of soybean oilcake. He said the NAMC was currently studying the matter.

    Dr Briedenhann reported that the Wilmar plant was expected to be up and running in April 2019. He said upgrades had been done during the restoration phase, and that the crush capacity at Wilmar would be increased. He added that the quality of the soybean oilcake produced at Wilmar would also be improved. He acknowleged that the industry was not crushing to full capacity, with soybean oilcake demand being the current issue.

    Mr Kusel asked whether the listeriosis issue, which had impacted negatively on the pork industry, would affect the consumption of local and imported soybean oilcake. Dr Briedenhann said the majority of the pork industry used locally produced soybean oilcake, but added that the volume of offtake by the pork industry was not that significant.

    Mr Louw noted that discounted Zambian soybean oilcake imports also posed a threat. He said GrainSA was currently in the process of applying for anti-dumping measures to be imposed on this.

  8. SAGIS

    Mr Hawkins tabled a 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.

    The contents of the SAGIS Weekly Bulletin published on 5 April 2018 and of the Monthly Bulletin, published on 27 March 2018, were noted.

  9. South African Supply and Demand Estimates Committee

    Dr Joubert said he had been informed that the quality of imported Argentinian soybean oilcake had deteriorated. Dr Briedenhann noted that the drought that had hit Argentina had impacted significantly on the quality of the beans and oilcake. He said Astral used soybean oilcake from the Molinos Plant, due to the processing technology employed at that plant.

    Cognisance was taken of the South African Supply and Demand Estimates Reports for January, February and March 2018.

  10. Weather and climate forecast

    Dr Briedenhann reported that the Western Cape was expected to be hit by a cold front or two, which would bring some welcome rain to that drought-stricken region. He noted that significant rainfall was predicted for the interior areas of the country in the first week of May.

  11. Crop estimates

    1. Latest crop estimates: Soybeans and Sunflower

      Cognisance was taken of the documents detailing the preliminary area planted estimate for summer crops for 2018; and the area planted estimate and sixth production forecast for winter cereals for the 2017 production season.

  12. Producer matters

    1. KwaZulu-Natal

      1. General

        Mr Kusel reported that the soybean crop in Kwa-Zulu Natal was looking good, with an above average crop being expected. He said the biggest concern was Sclerotinia, which was capping potential growth. He noted that there was a definite need for more Sclerotinia research. He said positive results had been obtained by using Contans under irrigation.

        Mr Davies agreed that the crop was looking to be above average. He reported that many producers were complaining about Sclerotinia.

        Cognisance was taken that no sunflower had been planted in KwaZulu-Natal in 2018.

    2. Mpumalanga and Gauteng

      1. General

        Mr Roos reported that Sclerotinia was a very serious problem in the Highveld, with some producers in Middelburg, Carolina and Hendrina considering the possibility of not planting soybeans in future. He said he was currently evaluating a biological control agent, which seemed to react quicker than Contans. He mentioned that glasshouse trials were being done with this agent by the University of Pretoria.

        Mr Roos said he expected that the soybeans yields in Hendrina, Wonderfontein, Carolina and Stoffberg would be less than that of the previous year.

        Dr Briedenhann enquired about the yield loss incurred by the disease, and was informed that a yield loss of between 30 to 40% was typical, but that yield losses of 100% had been reported.

        Mr van Wyk reported that some producers in Mpumalanga were harvesting lower yields than they had expected. He said the drought that had hit the province in February and March had caused more damage than had initially been thought. He confirmed that Sclerotinia had been a major problem during the 2018 production season. He reported that Mr Allan had informed him that he had harvested a yield of 4,91 tons per hectare on dryland, but had added that he expected to harvest only 1,2 tons per hectare in some lands, due to Sclerotinia infection.

        Cognisance was taken that the preliminary area planted estimate for sunflower in Mpumlanga was 2 000 hectares.

    3. North West and Limpopo Province

      1. General

        Mr de Beer reported that soybean plantings in the North West were looking good. He said there was lot of pressure on the harvesting process, as the lands had been too wet when the shorter growers were ready for harvesting.

        Dr Dreyer said soybeans had been planted over a wide area, with soybean plantings in the Tarlton area looking very good.

        Mr van Wyk reported that the irrigation area in North West had suffered temperatures of close to 47 degrees Celcius over two weeks in January, resulting in yield losses of 2,0 to 2,5 tons per hectare.

        Mr van Wyk reported that Dr Lamprecht had confirmed the presence of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in some of the soils in the North West irrigation area. He said SDS had the potential to become a huge problem.

        Cognisance was taken that 233 000 hectares had been planted to sunflower in the North West in the 2018 production season.

    4. Free State

      1. General

        Cognisance was taken that 345 000 hectares had been planted to soybeans in the Free State in 2018.

        Mr van Wyk reported that Sclerotinia had also caused damage in Petrus Steyn and Frankfort, where the disease had not occured in previous years. He said similar reports had been received from producers in the Vanderkloof Dam area.

        Mr de Beer reported that wet lands had delayed harvesting in the eastern parts of the Free State. He said harvesting had been completed in Bothaville and Vljoenskroon. He noted that impressive yields had been harvested in the eastern parts of the province.

        Cognisance was taken that 310 000 hectares had been planted to sunflower in the Free State in the 2018 production season. Mr Louw reported that producers in the Hoopstad and Wesselsbron areas had complained about Alternaria infection.

    5. Eastern and Northern Cape and South Western Districts

      1. General

        No report back.

  13. Research

    1. Soybeans

      1. National cultivar trials

        1. 2017-2018

          Dr Ma'ali reported that 35 entries had been planted in the cultivar trials, of which 40% were new entries. She said 21 trials had been planted, of which one trial had to be written off. She noted that the trials were all looking good.

        2. 2018-2019

          No report back.

      2. Soybean rust

        No instances of soybean rust had been reported during the season.

      3. Sclerotinia

        Mr Kusel reported that the soybean breakaway session at GrainSA's congress had requested that a desktop study be done by a knowledgeable person of all the means available worldwide for controlling Sclerotinia.

        The Chairperson asked Mr Kusel to correspond with Mr Keun in this regard.

      4. South African Cultivar and Technology Agency (SACTA)

        Mr Keun reported that serious problems were being experienced with the endpoint royalties system on soybeans. He said the system had been approved but that the guidelines and conditions set were not acceptable to the industry. He mentioned that the way forward would be discussed by the various roleplayers.


        1. That feedback is being awaited on the finalisation of the approval of a system of endpoint royalties on soybeans.

          Mr Keun
          Soybean Work Group

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

        Mr Louw reported that entries for the Weeg&Wen yield competition were being submitted.

      6. Rhizobium

        Cognisance was taken of the article "Regte entstof gee sojabone baie woema", written by Dr Anthony Jarvie and published in the Landbouweekblad of 13 April 2018.

    2. Sunflower

      1. National cultivar trials

        Dr Ma'ali reported that 19 cultivars, of which 32% were new entries, had been planted in 27 localities in Northwest and the Free State, of which seven had to be written off. She said the trials were planted late, because of the season. She noted that high yields were expected.

        The Chaiperson complimented Dr Ma'ali and her team on the quality of the sunflower trials displayed at the ARC Information Day. He suggested that the sunflower trials be showcased on a regular basis.

  14. Seed

    1. Soybeans

      1. Snippets

        No feedback.

      2. Non-GM seed

        No feedback.

      3. Other

        No feedback.

    2. Sunflower

      No feedback.

  15. Technology transfer

    1. Information Days 2018

      Cognisance was taken of the following information days that had thus far been organised for 2018:

      15-18 May NAMPO Harvest Day
    2. Videos

      No feedback.

    3. Oilseeds Focus

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

  16. Soybean Food Association

    Cognisance was taken of the report titled "Developing soya beans as a modern food commodity: consumer trends in the soya market of South Africa".

    Mr Cronjé reported that the members of the OAC had considered the report to be very superficial, and had requested that more detailed information be provided on companies and products. He said the second part of the research, which would deal with the marketing of the soybean brand, would be important.

    Mr Verhoef said he had for many years been working on identifying a cheap and simple way to process soybeans. He mentioned that he had visited China with two of his clients, where microwave technology for treating soybeans had been developed. He said this technology had been installed in a factory near Middelburg (www.ojafarms.co.za). He mentioned that the two soybean products manufactured at the Middelburg factory could be used to manufacture a wide variety of soybean food products, such as smoothies and sauces. He said information about soybean butter, which was very similar to peanut butter, is available on the WOWBUTTER website.

    Mr Davies reported that Eden Development Foundation's soybean awareness programmes were offered in the deep rural areas, where soybeans were promoted as a cheap source of protein. He said good progress was being made.

  17. Other matters

    1. News reports

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

    2. Articles

      Cognisance were taken of the articles included in Annexure J.

    3. Sunflower Highlights

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

    4. LEAF Services

      Mr Keun reported that various discussions took place between representatives of the grain and oilseeds industries, LEAF Services and SGS. He said meetings have been held with some of the individual industry associations, but added that feedback had not yet been received.

      Dr Briedenhann reported that the Animal Feed Manufacturers' Association (AFMA) had successfully applied for exemption from inspections by LEAF Services. He said there was a good case to be made for the Oilseeds Industry to also be granted exemption.

    5. Presentation: Ecologically based rodent management, E von Maltitz, ARC-PPRI, Roodeplaat

      Cognisance was taken of the copy of Mr von Maltitz's presentation on ecologically based rodent management, or EBRM, in various crops, that had been delivered during the previous meeting.

    6. Speaker at the Soybean Work Group and the Sunflower, Soybean and Soybean Food Forum: Drs Price and Simelane – release permit for a biocontrol agent on the invasive weed species Tithonia diversifolia

      Dr Price thanked the PRF and the Oilseeds Industry for hosting him and Dr Simelane at that day's meeting. He said they were employed by the ARC Plant Health and Protection Institute, and worked in the division dealing with the biological control of invasive weeds. He said biological control agents, or natural enemies, were sought in the countries of origin of invasive weeds, and placed in quarantine facilities. He noted that the biology and host specificity of these agents were then studied, after which an application for release of these agents was then submitted to the Department of Agriculture. He said the submission was then considered by the Natural Biological Control Release Review Committee, who looked at the data, and sent the reports for review to local and overseas experts, with a quite complicated process which had to be gone through before permission to release the agent was granted. He noted that they were currently studying the Mexican sunflower, or Tithonia diversifolia, which was becoming a real problem in South Africa. He said a further requirement was that the results had to be shared with stakeholders, such as sunflower producers, as an awareness exercise, and for them to raise concerns and ask questions. He reported that the natural control agent had been approved for release, pending the approval of the stakeholders. He called on Dr Simelane to present an overview of the research done.

      Dr Simelane provided background on the research done, including an overview of the local distribution of Tithonia plants, and of the host specificity tests done. He said the plant was introduced into this country in the early 1900's as an ornamental plant, which subsequently spread from household gardens and became an invasive weed in Southern Africa, extending from South Africa, especially in the eastern parts of the country, right through into Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

      Dr Simelane said chemical control of the weed was not economically viable, which led to the ARC's decision in 2007 to investigate potential natural enemies of the weed in Mexico. He reported that the leaf exfoliating beetle, the tortoise beetle or Physonota maculiventris, was identified as one of these. He provided details of the biology of the beetle, and of the host specificity tests done on a number of sunflower cultivars.

      Dr Simelane concluded by saying that after exhaustive research had been done, the ARC-PHPI was confident that the host range of Physonota maculiventris will be restricted to the target weeds in fields.

      The members of the Forum agreed that their recommendation would be that permission be granted for the release of Physonota maculiventris from quarantine.


      1. That it be recommended to the Department of Agriculture that permission be granted for the release of Physonota maculiventris from quarantine, with the view to its control of Mexican sunflower, an invasive weed.

        Mr Keun

  18. Date of next meeting

    The next meeting will be held on 10 October 2018.

  19. Adjournment

    There being no further business for discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 13:00.