Murraylands' average crop forecast

BALING: Brinkley farmer Andrew Williss out on one of his properties where he is in the process of baling hay. Photo: Nick Grimm.

BALING: Brinkley farmer Andrew Williss out on one of his properties where he is in the process of baling hay. Photo: Nick Grimm.

Some good rains and an improvement in conditions across the state has resulted in a revised upwards estimate of South Australia’s grain harvest.

The latest report states the estimate is about 6.7 million tonnes worth $1.7 billion, up from the 6.3m/t from earlier calculations but below the 10-year average of 7.7m/t.

The estimate is almost half of the record-breaking harvest last year, which finished with 11.1m/t worth around $2.2 billion.

In the Lower Murray crop growth and potential yield will vary – frosts in late August and the Russian wheat aphids have had a time causing damage in some areas.

There are reports of some mice damaging crops in the Southern Mallee region but most crops are listed as above average yield potential.

Brinkley farmer Andrew Williss said his crops were looking reasonable, but dry weather had been an issue, resulting to a year not quite as good as the last.

“We didn’t have a bad start at all, then we had a six-week dry period that definitely hurt,” he said.

We didn’t have a bad start at all, then we had a six-week dry period that definitely hurt. We were probably one good shower away from this being a bumper year.

Andrew Williss

“We were probably one good shower away from this being a bumper year.” 

Mr Williss said if the region had seen another 25 millimetres toward the end of September, it like would have likely led to a larger crop.    

“I’ve been pretty happy with it so far, but there’s still a fair way to go yet,” he said.

Despite seeing a drop in the scale of his crops, Mr Williss said he had seen improvements in other areas. 

“This year I’ve seen the highest prices for wool I’ve ever seen.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Leon Bignell said that after eight seasons in-a-row of above average crop harvests, the state’s farmers have had a slower start this year because of drier conditions in autumn.

“While across the state crop stage of growth is highly variable, they are generally growing well and have average yield potential in most districts – we’re now hoping for a good spring finish,” Mr Bignell said.

“In a season like this, an estimate of 6.7 million tonnes for a small crop area of 3.55 million hectares is far more than we would have expected 20 years ago and reaffirms South Australian farmers’ hard work and know how.”