SOUTH Australia’s grain harvest for 2018-19 stands at 6.9m tonnes, well below the long-term average of 7.9m tonnes, according to the July Crop and Pasture Report.
Dry conditions to the start of the sowing season, as well as frost and wind played significant roles in the low forecast.
South Australian minister for primary industries and regional development Tim Whetstone said the grains industry continues to be a significant contributor to the state’s economy adding almost $5.3bn to the state’s gross food revenue in 2016-17.
“The seasonal conditions have provided significant challenges for our farmers but hats off to them, they have managed to sow a variety of crops across the state,” he said.
“In most areas, soil moisture reserves are low to moderate, with only Kangaroo Island and the lower South East having good reserves.”
Mr Whetstone said despite dry conditions, the area sown across the state has increased from 2016-17.
“The dry and frosty conditions have slowed crop establishment with the crop area sown being slightly smaller than average, at 3.8 million hectares, but this is more than last year which was 3.5 million hectares,” he said.
“Farmers in most districts have retained a similar area of wheat, except for parts of the Eyre Peninsula, where many farmers have turned to barley.
Mr Whetstone said while the report provides the first estimate of the season, it is important to note that the state’s grain crop is highly dependent on conditions in the coming months.
“In a number of districts, higher than normal mice numbers have eased with the unfavourable conditions and baiting to protect sown crops,” he said.
“Snail populations are being monitored with successful baiting to protect newly sown crops in affected districts.”