Grain crops in South Australia very likely to be downgraded

29.12.2016

The storms and high rainfall that have hit South Australia may cause some future fruit damage and the likely downgrading of grain crops

Tony Hannaford from Torrens Valley Orchards who grows cherries in the Adelaide Hills at Gumeracha said he had about 80 millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours.

Mr Hannaford said the ripe cherry crop coped well with rain in the growing season, but it was a problem at ripening time.

"Having extended rain like we did last night there is going to be some cracking for sure," he said.

"The amount of cracking depends on how long the fruit is wet for, plus the volume of rain.

"I'm guessing we might have 30 per cent damage of what is left in the orchard, but the fruit will also be a bit larger which is some compensation, but we don't want to see any more rain, that's for sure.

"I'm guessing most of the fruit that is left will be harvested in the next couple of days."

Mr Hannaford was also without power for 24 hours, which affected his packing shed, but power has since been restored.

Hopes high that stone SA stone fruit growers okay

Jason Size of Summerfruit Australia said it did not appear to have been much damage to stone fruit crops in the Riverland.

However he cautioned that there could be very different rainfall and storm conditions from kilometre to kilometre.

"What I understand of the stone fruit growing area, keeping in mind it can be quite varied, we actually haven't had too much rain," he said.

"We probably had 10 to 15 mm over the last couple of days and a bit of wind, it doesn't seem to have done too much damage.

"But it can be very varied and I'm probably 20 minutes away from the main stone fruit growing region in the Riverland".

South Australia Grain crop downgrade

The storm that was mostly centered around Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, east of the city, hit two nights ago.

But grain farmers are still counting the cost of the storm with estimates there could be losses of up to $80 a tonne for wheat.

CEO of Grain Producers SA, Darren Arney, said 3 million tonnes of grain in various parts of the state were yet to be harvested, and the extent of the damage was not yet known.

Mr Arney said some crop damage was inevitable and affected producers would pay a heavy price.

"Wheat downgraded to feed, you're looking at a discount of somewhere between $50 to $80 dollars," he said.

"If you've got lentil crops, or fava bean crops or pulse crops downgraded to a feed value only, you're looking at over a $US100 per tonne."

Victorian fruit growers likely to dodge damaging rains

Mr Size was hopeful that Victorian growers would not be badly affected.

"Looking at the radar, the cloud band that's going through seems to be drifting south of us (Riverland, SA) and looks like it's going to go south of the growing regions in Victoria as well.

"All we can do is hope that it doesn't get close to them and they get through it.

"At the end of the day, farmers don't have much choice about the weather, they've just got to keep going."



ABC

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