Production value on rise

By Country News

The total value of Australian farm production is on the rise, growing to $61 billion according to an Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences report, well above the 10-year average of $55billion.

Released last week, the ABARES Agriculture Commodities report showed lamb, wool and cotton continue to be driving forces behind strong demand from international markets.

The value of wool exports is forecast to increase nine per cent to $4.7 billion in 2018-19, while livestock production value is expected to rise three per cent to $30billion.

ABARES executive director Steve Hatfield-Dodds said while some sectors may see a decline in production next year as a result of the drier-than-average autumn conditions, the forecast rise in the overall value of farm production was good news.

‘‘Although the first quarter of 2018 was marked by hot and dry conditions particularly in eastern Australia, the value of crop production in 2018-19 is forecast to remain unchanged at $31billion,’’ Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

‘‘Strong demand for Australian lamb, wool and cotton exports is expected to partly offset weaker demand for Australian beef and veal, and falling crop exports.

‘‘Despite a higher value of production, the value of exports is forecast to fall by two per cent to $47billion in 2018-19, as export earnings decline for barley, canola, chickpeas and sugar.’’

Ongoing risks to the agricultural sector include the persistence of dry conditions beyond winter in eastern Australia, and increasing competition in key export markets.

Australian dairy is expected to grow in value, reflecting increased production, while Australian wheat production is forecast to rise three per cent in 2018-19 to 21.9million tonnes from the 2017-18 levels.

Farm export earnings are forecast to be $47billion in 2018-19, two per cent lower than the forecast $47.8billion last year and 4.4 per cent down on the peak of 2016-17.