Legislative Council: Thursday, December 01, 2022


Crop and Pasture Report

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the recently released crop and pasture report?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:51): I thank the honourable member for his question. The latest South Australian crop and pasture report has been released and there is good news coming from farm gates around the state. Members in this chamber would be aware of how important the production of field crops is to our state's economy and our trade relationships around the world, with more than 70 per cent of grain produced in 2021 being exported to countries including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, China and Bangladesh. The 2022-23 grain harvest estimate of 12.1 million tonnes is a record high, exceeding the previous record, which was 11.1 million tonnes set in 2016-17.

High global prices, along with record production, have contributed to a record high farmgate value also, of $4.4 billion, a more than $1 billion increase on the 2021-22 season's record of $3.3 billion, so a 33 per cent increase overall. These figures take into account the downgrading of some of the grain due to damage from recent weather events. The grain crop area for the state is around the long-term average, currently at about 3.9 million hectares, while hay is around 210,000 hectares and about 836,000 tonnes.

An ideal spring finish to the season with cool conditions, above average spring rain and also good soil moisture for crops that were generally in good to excellent condition have all contributed to the record high production and farmgate values that we are now seeing. Some crop harvesting, as members are probably aware, is behind compared to average years and is expected to continue into the new year in many districts, but it is anticipated that with, hopefully, better weather on the way overall significant tonnage will be delivered into stores in coming weeks.

The report has just been released after its first major review in some 15 years. PIRSA looked at the current and future data requirements, the frequency and method of data collection and analysis, and also the report's final format. The review also included targeted industry consultation to ensure that the report continues to meet the needs of industry. The new look crop and pasture report is more concise and delivers invaluable information, including a statewide summary of crop condition and paddock harvest activities, weather impacts, the current condition of pastures and feed availability, and estimates of crop area and production for 14 districts.

I would like to thank the farmers and producers of our state for the invaluable role they play as the economic backbone of our state's prosperity. It allows regions, communities and supporting regional industries to thrive. I also congratulate them on the record set this year and look forward to witnessing the anticipated positive start to the next season, which I am sure will be reflected also in future crop and pasture reports.