South Australia’s Grain Crop Estimated At 7.2m tonnes


South Australia’s grain crop is to be an estimated above average 7.2 million tonnes in the 2016-17 season, according to the latest Crop and Pasture Report.

Produced by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), the report indicates that rainfall for both May and June was average to above average in the state’s cereal zone.

This estimate for the 2016-17 season, if the current rainfall patterns continue for the rest of the growing season, will make this the eighth consecutive crop above the long term (ten year) average production of 6.9 million tonnes.


The state’s grain industry contributed to almost $4.6 billion to gross food revenue in 2014-15.

About 85% of our grain is exported around the world to locations including Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India and Egypt.

Farmers and agronomists are being advised, particularly as temperatures increase in spring, to remain vigilant and closely monitor their crops for aphids and other pests, including Russian wheat aphid which was identified for the first time in South Australia in mid-May.

Most of the early sown crops that experienced initial damage from Russian wheat aphid have been sprayed and have recovered rapidly with no reinfestation of the pest, while later-sown crops have generally only recorded low numbers of the pest, below the economic threshold to warrant spraying.

The cold wet weather has also been effective in washing aphids off plants and reducing numbers.

Quotes attributable to PIRSA Grains Account Manager Dave Lewis

While this report looks at the good start produced by the rains in May through to the end of June, I am already aware that the further falls experienced by farmers in July is pointing to an even greater tonnage.

Seeding this season was extended over a longer timeframe with many farmers sowing into dry soils in April and early May, while others chose to delay sowing until rains in late May. Most seeding was finished by mid-June.

The mild conditions during May helped early sown cereal crops to grow rapidly, however, some late-sown crops had not yet emerged at the end of June.

Some crops along the coastal areas of the Upper North and North Yorke Peninsula are prematurely at the booting to early head emergence stage.

The wheat crop area has remained stable at around 2.2 million ha, however barley has been reduced in many districts resulting in this year’s barley crop being the smallest area in more than 17 years, because of the low price outlook.

The area sown to lentils has increased to a record high, especially on the Yorke Peninsula, which is great to see given South Australia is the largest lentil producing state in Australia.

Some early-sown canola crops in several districts had poor establishment and some crops or part of crops were re-sown, primarily with peas.

The good rains have resulted in full soil moisture profiles in many districts. This provides moisture reserves to carry the crop through flowering in spring, providing increased confidence for our farmers in the crop production outcomes.

Pasture growth has varied across the state with good growth of early sown pastures on western and central parts of the state, but slow growth in other districts.



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