News State SA News Mixed start for SA grain farmers

Mixed start for SA grain farmers

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Harvest is in full swing for a lot of grain producers across South Australia.

Many grain growers are welcoming a bumper crop but for others recent un-expected weather conditions have hurt yields.

John Lush, a wheat and canola farmer from Mallala in the Mid North, says crops have huge yield potential.

“I reckon it’s one of the best years I’ve seen at Mallala since I’ve lived here.”

“We’ve just finished reaping our first 200 hectares of canola and it’s going about two tonnes to the hectare which is probably as good as we’ve ever been able to reap it.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some six tonne wheat crops around here.”

Yorke Peninsula producers say they’re also welcoming a bumper crop.

Neil Smith who farms east of Maitland says a dry October will help boost wheat quality.

“I don’t like putting estimates on it but I’d say five tonnes is going to be quite common, some people are talking higher.”

He plans to start harvesting in about ten days time.

“We’ve never ever started reaping before in October in the history of the farm – not even in the driest years.”

But in other parts of the state bad weather has dashed some growers’ hopes of a bumper harvest.

Ben Ranford from Cleve on the Eyre Peninsula says strong winds have come through right at the wrong time.

“Primarily it’s kinked a lot of the barley over when it was still quite green in the stems, so effectively cut the sap off from the grain that was still filling.”

“So we’ve probably lost 30 to 40 per cent of the barley we thought we had and what we’re delivering is probably not the quality we thought we’d have.”

“It’s just always disappointing when you lose that yield potential just before you harvest it.”

Further North wind and frost hasn’t helped farmers recover from a relatively dry September.

Martin Clarke who produces wheat and barley near Jamestown says frost has damaged up to 40 per cent of his crop.

“It’s got pretty dry the last six weeks, we haven’t had the finishing rains we’ve needed.”

“We had a pretty ordinary week last week with a bit of frost and some hot northerly winds, it’s frosted the flats in our district.”