Canola work group meeting
held on 26 August 2020 by means of a virtual platform (MS Teams)

  1. Opening

    A moment of silence was observed.

  2. Welcome

    The Chairperson welcomed everybody present at the 2nd virtual meeting of the Canola Working Group. The Chairperson conveyed his congratulations to Dr Strauss and the team for putting together the three virtual farmer's days. A special word of welcome to Dr Patricia Mathabe, who is the Portfolio Manager for Agriculture at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

  3. Attendance


    Mr AP Theron Chairperson
    Mr K Blanckenberg Grain SA
    Mr P Blom SSK
    Mr J Botes Agricol
    Ms Z Bredell Syngenta
    Mr L Coetzee Kaap Agri
    Ms I Crous SOILL
    Mr C Cumming PRF
    Ms M du Preez PRF
    Mr E Eksteen Syngenta
    Ms C Grobler BASF
    Mr N Hawkins SAGIS
    Mr J Kellerman Agricol
    Mr G Keun PRF
    Dr S Lamprecht ARC-PPRI
    Mr P Lombard DAWC
    Mr J Loubser PRF
    Dr P Mathabe TIA
    Mr C Müller Agricol
    Mr G Nortje Overberg Agri
    Mr C Nell Overberg Agri
    Mr R Schutte Grain SA
    Mr Z Spammer SOILL
    Ms A Swanepoel DAWC
    Dr PA Swanepoel US
    Mr R Schoeman Pioneer


    Mr J Wolfaardt Ubusi Beekeeping


    Ms R Beukes DAFF
    Dr E Briedenhann PRF
    Mr A Britz Kimleigh
    Mr W Jonker PRF
    Mr P Laubscher Overberg Agri
    Mr C Louw Grain SA
    Mr K Meintjes DOW AgroScience
    Prof F Meyer BFAP
    Ms L Smorenburg DAWC
    Dr J Strauss DAWC
    Dr G van Coller DAWC
  4. Personal matters


  5. Confirmation of the agenda

    The agenda was accepted, with the addition of:

    • Item 12.6 – The conservation of bees, Mr Jaco Wolfaardt, Ubusi Beekeeping.
  6. Approval of minutes: 9 June 2019


    1. That the minutes of the meeting of the Canola Working Group meeting, held on 9 June 2020, be approved subject the following amendment:

      Page 7 - Resolution 9.3.1: the words "harvest losses" be changed to "harvesting techniques".

  7. General overview and crop estimates

    1. SAGIS information

      The contents of the latest SAGIS Weekly Bulletin and of the latest Monthly Data were noted. Cognisance was taken that this and other data were published on the SAGIS website.

      The Chairperson thanked Mr Hawkins for the excellent work done by SAGIS.

    2. Crop estimates

      Due to other commitments Ms Beukes was not available for reporting on the crop estimates during the meeting.

      The Chairperson reported that the new crop estimates will only be available on 27 August 2020.

      Mr Z Spammer reported that the estimate crop for canola is accurate with an estimate of 1,7 ton/ha harvest, which is very good.

    3. Winter rainfall region

      1. Swartland

        In respect of the Swartland, Mr Blanckenberg and Ms Crous reported as follows:

        • Disappointing rainfall at the beginning of the season, resulting in poor germination;
        • First significant rainfall event occurred the end of May, where after producers struggled with weeds;
        • August is the third consecutive month during which above average rain fall was experienced;
        • With the start of the growing season it was very cold, with an average temperature of 11,5 degrees, which was excellent for the flowering of the canola;
        • The season is approximately a month behind;
        • The Sclerotinia pressure is very low (1 reported case due to the low planting density which is a result of poor germination);
        • Blackleg pressure is worrying;
        • High temperatures during September might be problematic and will influence the final yield potential; and
        • Average to above average yield for the season is expected.

        Mr Lombard reported on Blackleg cases which were reported in all areas, some areas more severe than other. Samples were sent to the Disease Clinic in Stellenbosch, which were confirmed positive for Blackleg. He mentioned there was an increase in Blackleg in Canada as well as Australia. He further reported that Dr van Coller is working together with the University of Stellenbosch on trials at Langgewens, where different chemicals are tested on different cultivars in respect of Blackleg.

        Dr Lamprecht mentioned that with sunflower and soybeans there are a problem with seed­borne Sclerotinia. She enquired if this problem also occurs in canola. Mr Lombard mentioned that Sclerotinia is not seedborne in canola.

        Dr Lamprecht requested if it is possible to obtain more information in this regard to manage Sclerotinia as part of the integrated strategy to avoid planting seed that is infected with Sclerotinia.

        The Chairperson mentioned that this request could be investigated in future.

      2. Southern Cape

        Mr P Blom mentioned that in the SSK area the canola is looking good, late rain is important and a high average yield is expected this season.

        Mr Spammer mentioned that storage facilities are going to experience a lot of pressure as a result of the good harvest this season.

        The following overview of Overberg was reported:

        • Establishment prevailed early this season;
        • Optimal germination occurred;
        • Rainfall the end of April was a bonus, which resulted in exceptional establishment of canola;
        • Sclerotinia pressure is extremely high in the area, some producers are forced to spray for a second time; and
        • A record yield could be expected this season.
    4. Summer rain fall region

      1. Eastern Cape

        No report back.

      2. Other

        The Chairperson reported on the plantings in Marble Hall, which are looking excellent at the current moment. He also referred to the planting of canola in Kroondal.

    5. Price information

      Due to other commitments Dr Briedenhann was unable to attend the meeting.

      Mr Keun referred to the information included in the agenda as Annexure D, dated 11 August 2020. He mentioned that the exchange rate improved and the rand has strengthened, which might change the information included. He further mentioned that the price information is available on the PRF website.

      Mr Spammer reported that currently canola pricing is the best SOILL has offered producers. He mentioned that 70% of the harvest had been contracted.

    6. Weather forecast

      It be noted that the matter be kept in abeyance until a suitable person is found to assist and provide future reports at the Canola Working Group meetings.


      1. That Mr Keun launch an investigation to find a person, with a weather science background, to assist and provide future reports at the Canola Working Group meeting.

        Mr Keun
        Canola Work Group

    7. Sclerotinia

      It be noted that the matter was discussed at a previous discussion point.

      Mr Lombard reported that Ms Nowers is busy with trials on Sclerotinia and collecting the necessary data.

      Ms Crous recommended that farmers must properly plan the time of spraying according to the prevailing climatic conditions and to take the established canopy into consideration before just applying preventative applications, which are expensive.

    8. Damage: Clethodim

      Mr Cumming mentioned that there were not too many reports of Clethodim damage this season. He reported on trials visited at Wellington, where trials were conducted on spraying Clethodim at different rates and growth stages.

      Mr Lombard mentioned that the reason for fewer reports on Clethodim damage this season was due to the information supplied to the farmers and therefor better awareness.


      1. That it be noted that producers will be kept informed about Clethodim damage in future.

        Mnr Cumming
        Canola Work Group

      2. That the results of the trials at Wellington be awaited.

        Mnr Lombard
        Canola Work Group

  8. Research

    1. National cultivar trials 2020

      Mr Lombard reported that the cultivar trials were going as planned and referred to the different locations where trials were planted:

      • Riversdal's trials are looking excellent;
      • Riviersonderend, where the elite trials are also planted, is even better. Two replications were planted namely earlier and late plantings.

      Mr Lombard also referred to the trials at Hopefield and Langgewens and mentioned that at Napier a trial for demonstration purposes was planted.

      Mr Lombard mentioned that 16 cultivars were included in the canola cultivar trials. No new cultivars were included as a result of the unavailability of seed due to the lockdown.

      The Chairperson thanked Mr Lombard for his contribution.

    2. Research projects: 2020/2021 and 2021/2022

      Mr Keun mentioned that during the previous meeting he already reported in respect of the projects funded during the 2020/2021 financial year. He furthermore eluded to the challenges experienced by researchers due to the lockdown and confirmed that research projects and trials are executed to the best of their ability.

      Mr Keun said in respect of the 2021/2022 financial year, the PRF has concluded the process of evaluating and considering new project proposals as well as proposals for continuation of projects, and the outcome will be provided to researchers in due course.

      He mentioned applications for new project proposals as well as applications for continuation of projects by the Oilseeds Trust and Oilseeds Advisory Committee are still under consideration and feedback will only be given by the end of November 2020.

      Dr Swanepoel mentioned that the University of Stellenbosch, supported the researchers to continue with all the research projects during lockdown. All trials were planted as planned. He reported on the following research projects:

      • The precision placement trial;
      • Effects of lime;
      • Calcium and magnesium on canola, no till systems;
      • Soil acidity issues in the Swartland; and
      • The dynamics of insects in a crop rotation system.
  9. Technology transfer

    1. Canolafokus

      The meeting noted the articles published in the Canolafokus, included in the agenda as Annexure E. The Chairperson thanked all Canolafokus contributors for an excellent edition.

    2. Information days 2020

      The Chairperson mentioned that invitations were received to join the Riversdal Information Day, SKOG Day and the Hopefield Farmers' Day, which will be launched on 7 September 2020 on the Conservation Agricultural Western Cape's website.

      The meeting noted that the following information days:

      27 August Roodebloem Information Day – "Walk and Talk"
      1 September Southern Cape Trials *
      2 September Swartland Trials *
      9-12 September Virtual NAMPO *



      1. That respective information days be noted.

        Canola Work Group

    3. Videos

      The Chairperson requested that the matter regarding a video in respect of harvesting techniques be held in abeyance.

      Cognisance was taken that BFAP was contracted to develop a yield calculator and funding for the project was approved by the Oilseeds Advisory Committee and the Oil and Protein Seeds Development Trust.

    4. Oilseeds Focus

      Mr Keun reported that the September issue of the Oilseeds Focus will be available the following week for circulation.

    5. Presentation: "Sclerotinia stem rot affecting canola in the Western Cape", Ms Lizette Nowers, DAWC

      Cognisance was taken of the presentation by Ms L Nowers at the previous Working Group meeting, included in the agenda as Annexure G, for noting purposes.

  10. Other

    1. The canola market

      No report back.

    2. Canola producers

      1. Price and back payments

        Mr Spammer mentioned that back payments would be paid by the end of September 2020.

      2. Canola Yield Competition

        Mr Cumming reported that a very good response was received from the Swartland in both categories of the competition. He mentioned that a poor response was received from the Southern Cape.

        The Chairperson requested assistance from seed companies to convey the message to producers to enter the competition before the closing date of 31 August 2020.

  11. Seed

    1. Seed availability

      Cognisance was taken that there will be sufficient canola seed available for the next season.

    2. Seed germination

      The meeting noted that the matter would be held in abeyance.

  12. Additional matters

    1. Magazine Articles: canola

      The meeting noted the contents of the canola related articles included as Annexure I, in the agenda.

    2. Speakers considered for future canola meetings

      The meeting noted that the following persons would be contacted to give presentations to future working group meetings:

      • Mr Kobus Van Huysteen, SANSOR – The legal aspects of the quality of seed;
      • Mr D Lötter – Seed germination;
      • Dr Pieter Swanepoel – to share information regarding research projects; and
      • Ms I Crouse – to share results on her PhD study.


      1. That the following persons be approached to give presentations to future working group meetings:
        • Mr Kobus Van Huysteen, SANSOR – The legal aspects of the quality of seed;
        • Mr D Lötter – Seed germination;
        • Dr Pieter Swanepoel – to share information regarding research projects; and
        • Ms I Crouse – to share results on her PhD study.

        Mr Keun
        Canola Planning Committee

    3. SKOG: future planning

      The meeting noted that the SKOG farmers' day virtual meeting will be launched on 7 September 2020.

    4. TIA Canola Report

      Mr Keun reported that a value chain survey was done by the Department of Science and Innovation, also involving TIA. All the role-players in the canola industry were approach to give information in respect of the industry. A report was compiled and the OAC was approach to assist TIA in organising a workshop, which had to be postponed due to the lockdown. He mentioned that a virtual workshop was held on 22 July 2020 and a draft report is available.

      Dr P Mathabe reported on the following points, as the way forward:

      • Final report shared with key activities to all workshop attendees;
      • Bigger workshop to be planned to bring all the key stakeholders together;
      • PRF mandated to coordinate the platform for research projects and researchers involved;
      • Coordinated interventions to be looked into to unlock production potential in the Eastern Cape; and
      • Canola Working Group to work closely with TIA and DSI, as canola was mentioned as one of the key crops to be explored.

      The Chairperson thanked Dr P Mathabe for her contribution.


      1. That the Working Group Committee be kept informed on progress in respect of the matter.

        Mr Keun
        Canola Work Group

    5. Alternative crops

      The Chairperson mentioned that Dr Briedenhann was contracted by the PRF to do a study in respect of the Lupin Value Chain in the Western Cape.


      1. That feedback is awaited on the study that will be done on the lupin supply chain in the Western Cape, which will include the animal feed chain.

        Dr Briedenhann
        Canola Work Group

    6. The conservation of bees

      Mr Wolfaardt gave feedback on Ubusi Beekeeping. He mentioned that there is a very big demand for commercial pollination services in the Western Cape. The main focus is providing pollination colonies to the agriculture sector, especially canola growers. He mentioned good communication is essential between beekeepers and canola growers in respect of the spraying of canola and a way forward to work together in the future.

      The Chairperson thanked Mr Wolfaardt for his contribution.

  13. Meeting dates

    The meeting noted the following date scheduled for the Canola Working Group meeting:

    • 25 November 2020
    • 25 November 2020 – Yield Competition Function
  14. Adjournment

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