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Farmers tip bumper $2.4b harvest

Farmers tip bumper $2.4b harvest

Wed July 11, 2012 12:00am

SOUTH Australian farmers are expecting the second most valuable grain crop on record this year - an estimated $2.4 billion harvest.

A 35 per cent jump in grain prices and good rain falling across most of the state in the past month have helped provide the buoyant outlook.

The July issue of the Crop and Pasture Report prepared by Primary Industries and Regions SA forecasts a 6.9 million tonne harvest, one of the biggest ever and the fourth good crop in a row.

Analysts believe the positive outlook will help achieve a 25 per cent increase in grain income for  the state this harvest. The rapid lift in prices follows a continuing deterioration in the US and Ukraine grain crops, with the latest US Department of Agriculture report yesterday estimating that 30 per cent of its corn crop is in "poor or very poor" condition.

PIRSA's grains industry development manager Dave Lewis said while some districts had struggled with patchy crops since the opening rain, other areas had faired much better with crops well established and good yield potential.

Profarmer grain market analyst Malcolm Bartholomaeus said he was hopeful that wheat and barley prices would end up about 35 per cent above the levels of last harvest.

"We are looking at a 25 per cent increase in income if production is down a little bit on last year," Mr Bartholomaeus said.

He added: "It's probably one of those rare years where both production and prices will be good."

Mr Bartholomaeus said the Profarmer forecast for SA was for a 7.2 million tonne grain harvest, about 400,000 tonnes higher than the PIRSA estimate. "The chances of prices holding are reasonably good and we might gain a little on yield as well," he said.

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