Current outlook

PIRSA's recent Crop and Pasture Report identifies the following drought affected areas within South Australia:

  • eastern and western Eyre Peninsula
  • upper North
  • northern Yorke Peninsula
  • Murray Mallee
  • Eastern Mid-North (Eudunda to Worlds End)
  • North-east and north-west Pastoral.

Current data identifies around 70 per cent of the state and more than 4500 farming properties as affected by drought. Map of drought-affected regions (PDF 1.1 MB)

Year to date rainfall continues to be below average to very much below average across much of the state, including areas of the driest January – October on record.

Areas of the state recorded their lowest October rainfall on record. In parallel, the state experienced its third warmest October on record with daytime temperatures being above to very much above average, further eliminating remaining soil moisture.

The estimated total SA crop production has been revised down to 6.1 MT from 3.8 million hectares. The warm, dry conditions during spring in most agricultural areas have reduced crop yields in all areas, except Lower Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and the South East.

BOM's latest forecast continues to suggest a drier than average January to March 2020, with daytime temperatures also very likely to be above average across Australia.

On December 10, 2019, the State Government announced a $21 million increased Drought Support Program to deliver much needed extra assistance to its farmers and rural communities affected by continued drought.

The Drought Support Program offers both immediate financial relief to address current impacts and long-term resilience incentives.

The expanded program includes the following new and increased initiatives:

  • Increased funding for Rural Financial Counselling Services to meet growing demand for services – both individual farm business and small rural and regional businesses.
  • Increasing the Commonwealth Government’s On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme, from 25% to 50% (or up to $50,000) which will provide a greater incentive for eligible primary producers to purchase and install new water infrastructure and improve drought resilience.
  • Funding for the Family and Business Support (FaBS) Mentor program, increasing wellbeing and business advice to farmers, farming families and small businesses in drought-affected regions.
  • Immediate financial relief by offering a 50% rebate for council rates or pastoral lease rent for any primary producer currently receiving Farm Household Allowance.

PIRSA continues to work with industry, Federal and local governments, and other agencies and support services to ensure assistance is targeted and effective. Support is available to those individuals, families and communities who are drought affected.

More details are available at via the Drought Support hub - Financial assistance page.

To talk to someone about what assistance is available please call the drought hotline on 1800 931 314 or contact our Family and Business Support mentors, who can come and speak to you in person.

The Adverse Events Framework

In South Australia, PIRSA's ‘Adverse Events Recovery Framework for Primary Production' outlines the government's approach to determining what support may or may not be required in response to adverse events.

The Framework aligns to the principles of the Intergovernmental Agreement on National Drought Program Reform (IGA) agreed by the Commonwealth, states and territory governments in 2013.

The framework identifies the indicators that are monitored to determine whether the seasonal and associated impacts trigger drought response phases. View more detail about the Framework.

Under the terms of the IGA, state and territory governments no longer issue formal drought declarations. Under the IGA, relevant assistance programs for farmers experiencing drought or hardship are based on individual circumstances.

Dry Conditions Working Group Communique

Page Last Reviewed: 10 Dec 2019
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