South Australia’s 2018–19 grain harvest estimate has been lifted to 5.3 million tonnes with many farmers cutting for hay due to the drought and demand for feed.
The Harvest Edition of the State Government’s Crop and Pasture Report released today shows the final crop production was 400,000 tonnes higher compared to the previous forecast in November last year, due to favourable late spring conditions on Eyre Peninsula and central and southern Yorke Peninsula.
While the harvest estimate is significantly under the 10-year long-term average of 7.9 million tonnes, the farm gate value of $2 billion is higher than in 2017-18.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone, who met with the State Government’s Dry Working Conditions Group last week, 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,” said Minister Whetstone.
“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.
“However areas such as Southern Yorke Peninsula, Lower Eyre Peninsula and the Mid and Lower South East experienced average to above average yields.
“Barley yields were higher than expected in 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.
“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 out in March 2019. View the report at www.pir.sa.gov.au/cropreport.