Life on the land in Australia

Australia’s Farm output hits $60 billion for the first time

wheat harvesting image www.ozrural.com.au

Wheat exports are tipped to be the second biggest agricultural export earner. Photo: Simon O’Dwyer

The value of the nation’s farm production is tipped to pass $60 billion next financial year for the first time, with farm exports expected to earn about $45 billion.

According to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES), beef and veal exports will be the nation’s biggest agriculture export earner in 2016-17, with exports valued at $8.8 billion.

Wheat exports are tipped to be the second biggest agricultural export earner, with export volumes up slightly and a total value of $5.6 billion. Australian may have hopped off the sheep’s back years ago, but exports of Australian wool are forecast to rise handsomely in 2016-17, up 7 per cent, to about $3.7 billion.

The latest “Agricultural Commodities” report is also a reminder of the crucial role of agriculture in the national economy in the wake of a downturn in the mining industry. By way of comparison, Australian iron ore exports are tipped to be worth $47.2 billion this financial year, a decline of 13.5 per cent on last financial year, and not much above the value of farm export earnings (at $45 billion).

President of the National Farmers Federation, Brent Finlay, welcomed the ABARES report. “They’re good numbers for Australian agriculture and it just shows what we have started to feel in Australian agriculture in the last two years is going to continue,” he said.

“This is an exciting industry to be in, Australian agriculture, there’s a lot of opportunities,” he said.

ABARES executive director, Karen Schneider​, said the expected modest rise in the value of Australian farm production in 2016-17 was lifted by better prospects for livestock and cropping industries. “Total farm production is forecast to rise by 3 per cent to reach $60.3 billion in 2016–17, following a forecast increase of 9 per cent to $58.7 billion in 2015–16,” she said.


Henry Sapiecha

February 29th, 2016

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