The National Drought Coordinator will visit South Australia this week as latest forecasts point to a drop in grain production because of dry conditions across the state.

The SA grain crop is expected to come in at around 5.8 million tonnes with an estimated farm gate value of $1.7 billion, well down on the long-term average of 7.9 million tonnes.

“The season estimate reflects the dry conditions across the state, including some areas which are now considered drought affected, including the upper Eyre Peninsula, upper North, Murray Mallee and pastoral areas of the state,” Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said on Monday.

The minister said graziers were also experiencing difficulties with farmers in most areas hand feeding stock and reporting that hay and feed reserves were critically low.

“I acknowledge this is a very difficult season for many of our growers and there is support for those who need it through avenues such as the Farm Household Allowance and Rural Financial Counselling Services,” Mr Whetstone said.

“I urge people not to self-assess.”

The state government will also base eight experienced mentors and business counsellors in or near the worst affected regions to provide ongoing support.

“Just having someone care enough to walk down the driveway and see how things are going, and then be able to provide an experienced, confidential and independent ear and counsel can make the world of difference,” the minister said.

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