Dry conditions to the start of the sowing season, as well as frost and wind, have played a significant role in South Australia’s 2018–19 grain harvest forecast being below the long-term average at 6.9 million tonnes.
The July ‘Crop and Pasture Report’ shows the first crop estimate for this season sits below the long-term average of 7.9 million tonnes.
The report advises the dry conditions of late autumn continued into May and June, but timely rains in May were sufficient for seeding to progress in most districts.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said despite dry conditions, the area sown across the state has increased from 2016-17.
“The dry and frosty conditions have slowed crop establishment with the crop area sown being slightly smaller than average, at 3.8 million hectares, but this is more than last year which was 3.5 million hectares,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The grains industry continues to be a significant contributor to South Australia’s economy adding almost $5.3 billion to the state’s gross food revenue in 2016–17 and supporting thousands of jobs.
“The Marshall Government is committed to supporting our farmers and have put in place a number of measures to provide greater financial security in these difficult times.
“Some of these measures include the Farm Household allowance, mandatory farm debt mediation and waiving stamp duty for multi-peril crop insurance.
“The seasonal conditions have provided significant challenges for our farmers but hats off to them, they have managed to sow a variety of crops across the state.
“In most areas, soil moisture reserves are low to moderate, with only Kangaroo Island and the lower South East having good reserves.
“Farmers in most districts have retained a similar area of wheat, except for parts of the Eyre Peninsula, where many farmers have turned to barley.
“While the report provides the first estimate of the season, it is important to note that South Australia’s grain crop will be highly dependent on the conditions in the coming months.
“In a number of districts, higher than normal mice numbers have eased with the unfavourable conditions and baiting to protect sown crops. Snail populations are being monitored with successful baiting to protect newly sown crops in affected districts.”
View the report at www.pir.sa.gov.au/cropreport