South Australia’s grain harvest estimate for this year has fallen to a new low after many districts around the state experienced tough seasonal conditions and drought.
The expected 4.9 million tonne harvest has dropped from the state’s average of 7.9 million tonnes, however the value is expected to hold at $1.7 billion due to the season’s higher grain and fodder prices.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said South Australia was experiencing a patchy season, with some areas doing well and others enduring difficult conditions.
There’s large areas around that likely won’t yield at all this year...Sam Boehm
“Some farmers on Eastern Eyre Peninsula will not have enough grain to provide seed for next season’s crops, but are expected to have enough seed in storage or be able to source seed from elsewhere to meet requirements,” Mr Whetstone said.
Sam Boehm, Agronomist at Elders Rural in Cummins said that while he was grateful that farmers in his area were looking at a good outcome for this year’s harvest, other areas of the Eyre Peninsula were suffering.
“There’s large areas around that likely won’t yield at all this year; those guys, they’ll be struggling,” he said.
“Grain is a fair bit of their income, and some farmers don’t hold much stock either.”
Mr Boehm also said tough seasons could have ripple effects on the smaller communities when farmers could not afford to spend at local stores, and recovery for hard hit areas will take a long time.
“Certain areas have lost a lot of top soil, and it’s going to take longer than 12 months or even two years to recover,” he said.
This year’s estimates are comparable to the crop productions of the 1999/2000, 2007/2008, and 2008/2009 seasons, which all produced 4.8 to 4.9 million tonnes.