South Australia’s grain farmers are on track for an estimated harvest of 6.25 million tonnes in 2019–20, an almost 500,000 tonne increase on last year.
The latest Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) 'Crop and Pasture Report – Spring Performance' estimates the $1.8 billion farmgate value for the 2019-20 grain crop to be the highest since 2016–17, with the area of planting up 10 per cent on last season's crop at 3.85 million hectares.
PIRSA Senior Industry Adviser Dave Lewis praised farmers for their efforts despite 70 per cent of the state being impacted by drought.
"South Australia continues to produce strong grain harvests despite facing significant challenges and it's a credit to the innovation and resilience of our farmers," said Mr Lewis.
"While the 6.25 million tonnes estimate is an increase on 2018–19, crop yields in many areas of the state have decreased, with the drier areas on the Far West, Eyre Peninsula and northern Murray Mallee heavily impacted.
"The report outlines that rainfall this growing season has been highly variable across the state, which has resulted in mixed yield performance across the cropping regions.
"Parts of Lower and Western Eyre Peninsula, the South East and parts of the Lower Murray had average growing season rainfall and the report highlights average to above average yields are expected in Lower Eyre Peninsula, parts of Western Eyre Peninsula, parts of Yorke Peninsula, Upper South East, Lower South East and Kangaroo Island.
"Coupled with the dry conditions, frosts in early and late September caused significant crop damage to isolated areas in most districts with the worst affected areas cut for hay."
Livestock producers are determining livestock feed requirements for the summer and autumn period to ensure they have enough feed for their breeding livestock and most farmers have been able to cut or buy sufficient hay to feed livestock over summer.
The continued dry conditions across most pastoral areas has also resulted in continued de-stocking, with most of the area east of the Flinders Ranges now totally de-stocked.
The latest Crop and Pasture Report can be viewed at pir.sa.gov.au/cropreport.