The National Drought Coordinator will make an initial visit to South Australia tomorrow as the latest grain season update released today shows a revised estimate of 5.8 million tonnes with an estimated farmgate value of $1.7 billion.
The ‘Crop and Pasture Report for Winter Crop Performance’ details growing season rainfall has been below average across most agricultural districts in South Australia and the 5.8 million tonne estimate is well below the long-term (ten-year) average of 7.9 million tonnes.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone and key stakeholders will meet with National Drought Coordinator Major General Stephen Day tomorrow to discuss South Australia’s drought-affected areas.
“The season estimate reflects the dry conditions across the state, including some areas which are now considered drought affected, including the upper Eyre Peninsula, upper North, Murray Mallee and pastoral areas of the state,” said Minister Whetstone.
“Since the release of the last Crop and Pasture Report, many farmers were hoping for significant rain which sadly hasn’t arrived.”
After consultation with the State Government’s Dry Conditions Working Group, the latest Crop and Pasture Report has been extended to include additional information about fodder stocks and impacts on livestock industries.
“The feedback we are receiving is that in most of the state, farmers are handfeeding livestock with grain and hay and feed reserves are reported to be critically low, but new season hay will be available shortly,” said Minister Whetstone.
“In the rangeland zone to the north of the cropping areas, pastoralists have continued to reduce stock numbers due to depleted feed and/or water supplies and PIRSA animal health officers have been working with a number of farmers regarding stock weight.
“I acknowledge this is a very difficult season for many of our growers and there is support for those who need it through avenues such as the Farm Household Allowance and Rural Financial Counselling Services. I urge people not to self-assess.”
Producers are encouraged to contact the 24-hour Agriculture and Animal Health and Welfare Hotline (1800 255 556) if they have any questions or concerns about animal health or welfare and any issues related to the current dry conditions.
The Crop and Pasture Report can be viewed at www.pir.sa.gov.au/cropreport.