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Pinery fire crop and feed damage bill hits $24m

Business

The damage bill for almost 60,000 tonnes of unharvested grain crops and feed lost in the Pinery fire has climbed to an estimated $24 million.

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Primary Industries and Regions SA estimate the loss of 22,000 hectares of unharvested grain crops in the late November fire will cost more than $15 million.

PIRSA estimated the damage bill for the loss of some 33,000 tonnes of hay was about $8 million.

Executive director Dan Casement said producers reported most fire losses in crops of durum and bread wheats.

“Fortunately, the majority of the high value crops including lentils and canola had been harvested and carted to the silo prior to the fire,” Casement said.

“This is likely to impact the local hay exporting industry and place further pressure on affected producers’ ability to feed stock.

“While the fire has destroyed a significant tonnage of grain and hay in the lower north district, the 59,000 tonnes lost will only marginally impact on the state’s total crop estimate of 7.1 million tonnes released in the latest PIRSA Crop and Pasture report last month.”

The Pinery fire started about midday, moving fast over a 15 kilometre fire front, threatening the communities of Pinery, Mallala, Kapunda, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee and northern parts of Nuriootpa

Approximately 85,000 hectares in the Balaklava and Roseworthy area in South Australia’s mid-north were ravaged.

In the end, 87 homes were destroyed or significantly damaged and uninhabitable, 388 farm sheds and outbuildings were lost, 93 pieces of farm machinery were destroyed and 98 vehicles were burnt out.

Assistance is still available for farmers whose livestock and land were impacted by the fire. Call PIRSA on (08) 8207 7847.

More bushfire-related information for primary producers is available on PIRSA’s website at www.pir.sa.gov.au

For all other recovery issues call the state recovery line 1800 302 787.

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