SOUTH Australia’s 2018-19 grain harvest is expected to be 4.9m tonnes, with harvest now underway.

Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA)’s Crop and Pasture Report for Spring Crop Performance outlines the health of crops and pastures across the state is quite varied with several districts in the state experiencing drought.

Despite the below-average harvest, the farmgate value of the state’s crop is estimated to hold up at $1.7bn on the back of higher grain and fodder prices this season.

The 4.9m tonne estimate grown from 3.5m hectares is well below the long-term South Australian average of 7.9m tonnes.

Minister for primary industries and regional development Tim Whetstone said rainfall this growing season was below average across most of the state, with significant areas drought affected.

“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.

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“A number of areas in the state are drought affected, including eastern and western Eyre Peninsula, upper North, northern Yorke Peninsula, Murray Mallee, eastern Mid North and North East pastoral.

“Most districts received very much below average rainfall in September.

“Several strong winds and some widespread frosts occurred in late September and early October.

“The widespread frosts damaged grain crops at their most vulnerable flowering to early grain fill stage. Around 10% of the state’s grain crop was cut for hay as a result of the frost damage.

This year’s current crop production estimate is very similar to that of 1999-2000, 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, which all were around 4.8m to 4.9m tonnes.

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