PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — Soybean production in South Africa is forecast to increase by almost 40% in 2020-21 to a historical high of 1.7 million tonnes due to a record planted area and favorable weather conditions, according to an April 7 Global Agricultural Information report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As a result of the record crop, South Africa is projected to crush a record 2.2 million tonnes of oilseeds this marketing year and produce 1.5 million tonnes of oilseed meal, also a record.

“Due to the increase in local production, soybean meal imports are expected to drop to the lowest level in the past two decades at 350,000 tonnes for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 marketing years,” the USDA said.

The USDA said the bumper soybean crop will put downward pressure on local soybean prices, which will influence producers’ decisions on the area planted with soybeans later in 2021. Therefore, the USDA forecasts a marginal increase of 3% to 850,000 hectares in soybean planted area in the 2021-22 marketing year.