South Australia

​​​​Australian Crop Report: June edition

Autumn rainfall was average to above average in most cropping regions in South Australia and timely for the planting of winter crops. Favourable rainfall in the last week of April in all cropping regions improved soil moisture levels and helped to establish dry sown crops. This was followed by below average temperatures and timely rainfall in May, which boosted planted area.

Production prospects of winter crops in South Australia are forecast to be above average. This is expected to be supported by average to above average soil moisture levels at the beginning of June and a favourable outlook for rainfall in July in most northern cropping regions. Most southern cropping regions had above average subsoil moisture at the beginning of June, and are expected to benefit from cooler temperatures and average rainfall in July. According to the latest three-month seasonal outlook (June to August) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 4 June 2020, winter rainfall in South Australia is likely to be average in most northern cropping regions and below average in southern Eyre Peninsula, southern York Peninsula and the south east. Day time temperatures are likely to be average in northern cropping regions and below average in southern cropping regions.

Area planted to winter crops in South Australia is forecast to increase by 3% in 2020–21 to around 3.6 million hectares, around the 10-year average to 2019–20. With a favourable start to the crop season and the favourable outlook for winter rainfall, yields are forecast to be around 6% above the 10-year averages to 2019–20 and winter crop production in 2020–21 is forecast to increase by 28% from below average production last year. This forecast assumes average spring rainfall.

Area planted to wheat is forecast to increase by 5% in 2020–21 to around 2.1 million hectares, slightly above the 10-year average to 2019–20. The largest increase in area planted to wheat is expected on the Eyre Peninsula due to improved planting conditions compared to the past two years. With an average yield slightly above the 10-year average to 2019–20, production is forecast to be 4.5 million tonnes.

Area planted to barley is forecast to decrease by 1% to 840,000 hectares, which is 2% below the 10-year average to 2019–20 of around 853,000 hectares. It is expected that most producers would have proceeded with their agronomic rotations that utilise barley, despite the fall in prices during the planting window. Barley production is forecast to increase by 14% in 2020–21 to 2.1 million tonnes.

Area planted to canola is forecast to increase by 2% to around 225,000 tonnes, which largely reflects the timely seasonal break for the planting of canola crops in the upper Eyre Peninsula and the Mallee. Canola production is forecast to increase by 10% to reach 330,000 tonnes in 2020–21.

Table 9 Winter crop forecasts, South Australia, 2020–21
Crop Area
’000 ha
Area change
Prod. change
Wheat 2050 2.20 4500 5 41
Barley 840 2.50 2100 –1 14
Canola 225 1.47 330 2 10

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: 9 June 2020
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