Hailstones blanket Bruce Hewett's property at Glossop, South Australia
© Lauren Cresp
Hailstones blanket Bruce Hewett's property at Glossop, South Australia.
Crops worth "hundreds of millions of dollars" have been destroyed during a freak hailstorm in South Australia's Riverland region.

Wind gusts of up to 70kph were recorded during the storm, which hit the area about 6pm on Monday.

"It would be hundreds of millions of dollars of damage," Neville, a local farmer, told ABC Radio Adelaide on Tuesday.

He said the storm had swept through the towns of Murray Bridge, Swan Reach and Wynarka.

Other properties hit were in Barmera, Monash and surrounds, where farmers grow crops including stone fruit, nuts and grains.

At the Renmark Airport weather station, nearly five millimetres of rain was recorded in less than half an hour.

A severe thunderstorm warning for damaging winds and large hailstones was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology about an hour before the storm hit.


'Crippling' financial loss

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the financial burden could be crippling for farmers who have suffered extensive damage.

"I've spoken to growers and some are reporting they have lost everything with harvest for early varieties coming in now, and others are reporting smaller amounts of fruit lost to damage," he said.

"November is a vulnerable time for industry to be hit by such a severe weather event with some dryland cereal crops still to be harvested, varieties in full fruit and early growth shredded off grapevines.


"The storm has damaged a wide range of crops, from grapevines to nuts to citrus and dryland cereal crops."

Staff from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia will travel to the area on Tuesday to inspect the damage, based out of the Loxton Research Centre.

The region was hit by a similar storm in 2016, when an estimated $100 million damage was recorded.

AAP