South Australia Expects $1.8B Grains Harvest This December

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 12, 2012 6:14 PM EST

Christmas could come in cheery for Australia's state of South Australia as grain harvest in the region is predicted to rake in some $1.8 billion next month.

The improved figures, according to Dave Lewis, Primary Industries and Regions SA grain industry development manager, were a result of the investments the sector made in technology.

"We are getting 50 per cent more grain with the same amount of growing season moisture because of improvements in technology and crop husbandry," Mr Lewis was quoted by adelaidenow.

Another contributing factor, Mr Lewis added, was the timing of sowing.

"With the presence of modern equipment, a farmer can now sow his crop in two to three weeks, whereas it would have taken five or six weeks in the 1980s."

This year's crop, although down from the 6.9 million tonnes harvest estimate made in July, is still contemplated as achievement compared with 24 years ago which produced only two million tonnes of grain despite having similar rain and moisture levels.

Malcolm Sargent, a farmer from Crystal Brook, seconded that constant improvements in technology had greatly helped him and the region to cope despite SA always hit by drought.

"I remember former BHP chairman Sir Arvi Parbo saying that being in business is like walking up a down escalator. If you stand still you go backwards," Mr Sargent said, who started grain farming in 1970.

He said technology, along with more land acquisition, had helped his business to stay afloat, boosting production from 500 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes of grain a year. What's more, all these were done without employing extra workers.

"We are growing far more grain per millimetre of rain than we did when I started because ironically, drought years force people to change rapidly to make use of the available moisture," he said.

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