South Australia

​​​​Australian Crop Report: December edition

Seasonal conditions were mixed during spring in South Australia. Crop prospects in most northern cropping regions were adversely affected by below average rainfall and above average temperatures during spring. However, while spring rainfall was below average in parts of the upper Eyre Peninsula, the southern Mallee and the mid-North, it was timely, and benefitted yield prospects in these regions. Average rainfall in September and the timeliness of rainfall in October supported average yield prospects in most southern cropping regions including lower Eyre Peninsula, lower Yorke Peninsula and the South East.

Fires in Yorke Peninsula in late November will delay harvest and reduce production in the region. However, the affected region is a small proportion of total planted area in South Australia and the fires will not reduce state level production significantly.

According to the latest three-month seasonal outlook (December to February), issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 21 November 2019, December rainfall is likely to be below average in South Australia.

Winter crop production in South Australia is forecast to increase by 19% in 2019–20 to around 6.3 million tonnes. However, production in 2018–19 was very low and forecast production in 2019–20 is still 15% below the 10-year average to 2018–19. The 2019–20 forecast reflects an estimated 4% increase in planted area to around 3.5 million hectares and expected yield improvements in key growing regions. High fodder prices and frosts in September resulted in some crops intended for grain production being cut for hay, especially in parts of the northern Mallee and the upper North.

Wheat production is forecast to increase by 19% in 2019–20 to around 3.5 million tonnes, reflecting a 13% increase in the average yield and an estimated 5% increase in planted area.

Barley production is forecast to increase by 21% to just under 1.9 million tonnes. The average yield is forecast to increase by 17% and planted area is estimated to have increased by 3%.

Canola production is forecast to increase by 15% to around 300,000 tonnes, which largely reflects an estimated 10% increase in planted area. Canola in early deliveries from regions adversely affected by below average spring rainfall has had below average oil content.

Table 9 Winter crop forecasts, South Australia, 2019–20
Crop Area
’000 ha
Area change
Prod. change
Wheat 1,950 1.79 3,500 5 19
Barley 845 2.19 1,850 3 21
Canola 220 1.36 300 10 15

Note: Yields are based on area planted. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed. Percent change are relative to last year.
Sources: ABARES

Statistical tables​​​​​

Last reviewed: 2 December 2019
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