South Australia grain harvest to be below average


The Primary Industry and Regions SA (PIRSA) crop and pasture report for spring has been released and the results are saddening for our local farmers.

After a year filled with drought like conditions and with some areas thriving, the health of crops and pastures across the state is a varied result.

The 2018-19 harvest has fallen to an estimated 4.9 million tonnes, this was grown from 3.5 million hectares and is well below the long-term average of 7.9 million tonnes for South Australia.

The Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetsone says that the below average rainfall season had an even larger impact on drought affected areas.

“This year we’re experiencing quite a patchy situation- some areas are experiencing very good seasons, while others are experiencing very difficult seasons”, he said.

The Minister named a number of areas in the state that are drought affected which included eastern and western Eyre Peninsula, upper North, northern Yorke Peninsula, the Murray Mallee, North East pastoral and the eastern Mid North area.

In addition to low rainfalls, strong winds and widespread frosts that occurred in late September, early October, farmers were forced to cut for hay due to the damage.

“We are working with industry, support agencies, communities and other government authorities to manage the state’s drought affected areas and importantly ensure our farmers know there is support available”, the Minister said.

As a result of this year’s season, some farmers located on the eastern Eyre Peninsula, Upper North, Mid North and southern Mallee will not have enough grain to provide seed for next season’s crop; but anecdotally are expected to have enough seed in storage or be able to source seed from elsewhere to meet requirements.

“There is some pasture feed on Kangaroo Island, the south east of the Eyre Peninsula, but in other areas pasture feed and soil surface cover is low”, Minister Whetstone said.

“Most cattle and sheep producers in pastoral areas have continued to reduce livestock numbers, with some totally de-stocking and most having reduced numbers by 40 to 80 per cent.”

Producers are encouraged to contact PIRSA’s 24-hour hotline (1800 255 556) if they have any questions related to the current dry conditions.

The next report is due out in January 2019.

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