The current El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is in a weak La Niña phase, which is expected to continue until early autumn, according to Weather SA’s long-term weather forecaster, Cobus Olivier.
While a La Niña event was usually conducive to increased rainfall over South Africa’s summer rainfall region, it remained uncertain what the effect of the circulation over the equatorial Pacific Ocean would be. The circulation did not resemble a typical La Niña, he said.
Hansie Viljoen, Leeudoringstad grain producer, said conditions in the western parts of the summer grain production area were dire. In some parts of North West, for example, as little as 30% of the lands earmarked for grain production had been planted.
Crops that had been planted were struggling to survive, and in some cases the crops were dying as a result of the severely depleted soil moisture levels and extremely high temperatures.