The 2023-24 harvest has exceeded expectations in SA, defying early predictions to finish half a million tonnes above forecasts.
Despite a dry and warm finish, that lead had many producers experience their earliest start and conclusion to harvest, PIRSA is reporting a total state-wide yield of 9.3 million tonnes, worth about $3.6 billion in farm gate value.
This was up on forecasts as recently as August, which estimated harvest would finish with 8.8mt.
It followed a record 2022-23 harvest, where 12.8mt was grown.
PIRSA industry partnerships and intelligence general manager Matthew Palmer said some regions had performed particularly well.
"This report provides a slightly increased estimate since the last report, with yields in some regions slightly higher than expected," he said.
"With an above average harvest and generally strong prices, this is another great result for SA's grain industry."
Grains Producers SA chief executive officer Brad Perry said the result of more than 9mt across SA was pleasing, in light of the dry finish in the months leading up to harvest.
"Recent rains have prompted weed growth but have also provided sub-soil moisture on many broadacre cropping properties," he said.
"Hopefully this rainfall will provide good conditions for seeding in the coming months.
"With the report estimating the crop to be worth more than $3.5 billion, it once again demonstrates the importance of the South Australian grain sector to the state's economy."
Rain during December delayed the harvest of later crops and downgraded grain quality, but strong feed grain prices have reduced the financial impact on affected growers.
Growers are reporting mostly average to slightly above average grain yields except in parts of the Upper Eyre Peninsula and Mid/Upper North and northern Mallee, which were affected by frost.
By January most of the harvest was completed but there were crops still being harvested in parts of the South-East, Kangaroo Island, Fleurieu and Lower Yorke Peninsula due to weather delays.
Summer rain has also led to the subsoil moisture reaching historically high levels, with it predicted to be in the 90th percentile in some districts.
With good fallow management, this is anticipated to provide valuable soil water for the season ahead.
International climate models are predicting that El Nino conditions will return to neutral by late autumn, while some indicate there could be a swing to La Nina conditions later in the year.