December 5, 2008

South Australian grain harvest hampered by rain

South Australia is the latest state to report downgrading of the quality of winter crops including wheat now being harvested.


While harvest progressed steadily in November, some areas suffered delays from cool and damp weather, according to a monthly Crop Report published late Thursday (December 4) by that state's Department of Primary Industries and Resources.


The harvest is estimated about 60 percent done with yield and grain quality extremely variable, ranging from crops struggling to return seed through to near average yields with early sown crops on better soils performing best, it said.


Cereals have performed best, although high levels of small, pinched barley "and low test weights for some wheat have seen widespread downgrading of quality," according to the report.


Many farmers are choosing to store low quality grain on farm or through warehousing given the depressed prices currently on offer and will look to market their grain after the harvest is finished, it said.


Production estimates were held unchanged from the previous month.


Wheat production this year is estimated at 2.31 million tonnes, unchanged from the 2007 crop.


Barley output this year is forecast at 1.73 million tonnes, down a tad from 1.78 million tonnes last year.


Other crops grown in the state include oats, canola and various legumes.


Most of this grain is available for export.


Harvest in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland states also have been delayed by rain with widespread quality downgrading.

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