PIRSA calls South Australian harvest at 9.29Mt

Grain Central, February 21, 2024

A crop on the Upper Eyre Peninsula days ahead of harvest last year. Photo: Tim Larwood, Buckleboo

SOUTH Australia’s 2023-24 winter-crop harvest has exceeded expectations with production estimated at 9.29 million tonnes (Mt), according to the latest Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Crop and Pasture Report.

This is up from 9.19Mt estimated in the previous PIRSA report released in November, and reflects strong farmgate prices which see the harvest valued at $3.6 billion.

Dry and warm conditions during November saw producers experience their earliest ever start and finish of harvest in many districts.

With favourable conditions, growers in earlier districts completed their harvest by early December and reported excellent grain quality.

Rain during December delayed the harvest of later crops and downgraded grain quality, but strong feedgrain prices have reduced the financial impact on affected growers.

Growers are reporting mostly average to slightly above average grain yields, except in parts of the Upper Eyre Peninsula, Mid and Upper North, and northern Mallee which were affected by frost.

By January, most of the harvest was completed but there were crops still being harvested in parts of the South East, Kangaroo Island, and Fleurieu and Lower Yorke peninsulas due to weather delays.

Rain during December has bolstered pasture feed supplies with germination of annual pasture species, volunteer cereals and summer weeds.

Summer rain has also seen subsoil moisture reach historically high levels and is predicted to be in the 90th percentile in some districts.

With good fallow management, this is anticipated to provide valuable soil water for the season ahead.

The seasonal outlook indicates El Niño conditions will continue, but this is predicted to have a reduced impact on Australian rainfall over summer.

For much of South Australia, temperatures are predicted to be warmer than usual, and the rainfall forecast is more neutral.

International climate models are predicting El Niño conditions will return to neutral by late autumn.

Source: PIRSA



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