farm equipment

South Australia grain farmers are estimated to increase production above seven million tonnes in 2020-21 for the first time since 2016-17, according to a report released today.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions Crop and Pasture Report estimates 2020-21 grain production at 7.9 million tonnes just under the 10 year average of eight million tonnes.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the report estimates farm gate value from this season’s harvest will increase to $2.2 billion.

“While farmers continue to battle drought across the state, recent rains have provided increased optimism for the grain sector for the 2020-21 season,” said Minister Basham.

“The report is predicting almost 4 million hectares of grain crops have been sown, the most since 2013-14.

“The estimates point to a stronger performance compared to the same time last year despite below average rainfall being experienced from May through to late August.

“Many growers across the state are still recovering from years of drought, last summer’s severe bushfires and the impacts of COVID-19 border restrictions. However, this report demonstrates there is still confidence to invest in the grains industry and expand area sown.

“Across northern Eyre Peninsula, northern Yorke Peninsula and parts of the Northern agricultural districts crops are expected to be below average having lost yield potential due to the dry winter conditions.

“Recently I launched the Grain Industry Blueprint targeting total value for the sector of $6 billion by 2030 and continuing to adapt to the variable climate and be innovative are key elements to increasing productivity.”

The report states rainfall in the pastoral zone in August and September is promoting new feed growth, although it advises producers in most districts will likely need to continue to supplementary feed stock until pastures improve.

Furthermore, the report highlights the persistent dry and frosty conditions through early to mid-winter led to a slowing of crop growth in most areas of the state. Summer rainfall and solid late April rains contributed to significant soil moisture.

While the dry winter conditions have contributed to low disease levels, there have been reports of insect pests causing crop damage, with red legged earth mite across crops and pastures, Russian wheat aphid in cereals and cowpea aphid in pulse crops with producers implementing treatment strategies to minimise their impact.

View the 2020-21 Crop and Pasture Report.

Originally published on the Premier of South Australia’s website:Farmers look to the skies for 7.9 million tonne harvest