Saturday 23rd Mar, 2019

South Australian harvest 400,000T higher than estimates

South Australia’s grain estimate has been revised upwards to 5.3 million tonnes, 400,000 tonnes higher than the previous forecast in November 2018.

The increase is due to favourable late spring conditions on Eyre Peninsula and central and southern Yorke Peninsula. Many farmers had cut hay due to the drought and demand for feed.

The harvest estimate is still significantly under the 10-year long-term average of 7.9 million tonnes, however the farm gate value of $2 billion higher than 2017-18.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said farmers remain resilient despite the grips of drought.

“The feedback I am getting from industry and through the Dry Conditions Working Group is that harvest has been very patchy across South Australia with some farmers reportedly having record crops, while others have no crop at all,” Whetstone said.

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“For many it has been a forgettable harvest, but one I hope will assist in making future decisions to drought proof farms.

“Yields have been highly variable depending on rainfall, soil type and frost damage and many districts.”

Barley yields were higher than expected across a number of districts, while wheat yields were lower, mainly due to drought and frost.

“Pasture feed in most districts has been exhausted and ground cover levels are very low, increasing soil erosion risk,” Whetstone said.

“In stark contrast, pastures in some areas such as the lower South East are good quality.”

The final 2018-19 Crop and Pasture report is due in March 2019