SA crop estimate ratchets up to 9.2Mt: PIRSA

Grain Central, November 27, 2023

Harvesting on Eyre Peninsula earlier this month. Photo: Andrew Polkinghorne

MANY South Australian farmers have had their earliest ever start to harvest, with yields meeting or slightly exceeding expectations, according to the latest South Australian Crop and Pasture Report.

Based on conditions as of November 14, the Primary Industries and Regions SA report said in a statement released on Friday that SA’s crop production for the current harvest is estimated at 9.2 million tonnes (Mt), up from 9Mt previously forecast in PIRSA’s September report.

“The 2022-23 harvest smashed previous records of production, with 12.1Mt produced and high global grain prices pushing the farm gate value to $4.4 billion,” the statement said.

This season, early harvest grain prices were strong, and quality has been good overall, resulting in an estimated farm gate value of $3.6B.

Warmer and drier conditions across SA during August, September and October limited crop potential to near-average levels in most regions.

“Total rainfall from the start of August to the end of October has been below average for all grain producing areas, with the Central Hills and Fleurieu, Kangaroo Island and Lower South-East regions most affected.

“The decreased rainfall was coupled with a rise in average temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius in northern regions.”

However, subsoil moisture from last year’s above-average spring rainfall allowed crops in many regions to develop well, despite the dry spring.

Crops on poorer soils in the Upper Eyre Peninsula and Northern Mallee suffered moisture stress in early spring, but yield potential is still expected to be close to average across the state.

Frost in late October impacted crops in the Upper North, Mid North, Murray Plains and Upper South-East regions.

This affected yield potential in some later-maturing paddocks, but most producers remain unaffected.

A widespread frost event in early September also resulted in below-average yields on Upper Eyre Peninsula.

Below-average livestock prices are expected to see producers continue to scale back sheep numbers in all regions next year, with some producers looking to introduce more lentil crops.

Table 1: Hectare and tonnage estimates for the 2023-24 crop now being harvested in SA. Source: PIRSA


Source: PIRSA


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