South Australia’s grain growers have produced 5.6 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season and despite this being the smallest harvest in a decade, the value of the crop is more than 10 per cent higher than last year off the back of high prices.
The Crop Performance Summary and Final Estimates Crop and Pasture Report outlines the final grain harvest return of 5.6 million tonnes was an increase of 300,000 tonnes compared to the previous estimate.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the variability of the dry conditions across the state had a significant impact on the final grain harvest figure.
“With more than 4,000 producers in South Australia directly affected by the drought, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of farmers to harvest more than five million tonnes of grain this season,” said Minister Whetstone.
“With the stronger prices, those farmers who were able to grow a crop reaped the benefits with the grain season’s farmgate value at $1.9 billion, with an additional $300 million estimated value for hay.
“Over the years there have been significant improvements in farming practices and adoption of technology, which have increased the resilience of our primary producers.
“Grain yields were well below the 10-year long term average of 7.9 million tonnes due not only the drought but frost and wind events with large areas of suspect frost damaged crop cut for hay.
“I’ve been told some farmers have seen their best ever returns this season, while others sadly were not able to sow a crop. Grain quality across the state varied considerably, but overall more wheat than normal was graded as premium due to high protein, and we produced more malting barley than normal.
“There are still adequate quantities of stubble and pasture feed on Lower Eyre Peninsula and the South East, however the amount of paddock feed is very low in all other districts.
“Both cattle and sheep producers have reduced livestock numbers, with some properties completely de-stocking and others continuing to reduce numbers.”
According to the report, the Lower South East, Kangaroo Island and Lower Eyre Peninsula had average or above average results, with the Lower Eyre Peninsula setting a new record production for the district.
Looking toward the new season, the report states summer weeds which appeared in many parts of the state following rainfall in November and December rainfall had their growth stalled by the hot weather experienced in January and February. View the report at www.pir.sa.gov.au/cropreport