Ag production hits $60 billion
FARM production is set to contribute $60.2 billion to the Australian Economy in the 2016-17 financial year.
According to the Federal Department of Agriculture andWater Resource’s agriculture commodities report the gross value of farm production is forecast to increase by 6.1% in 2016-17, following an estimated 4.2 per cent increase to $56.7 billion in 2015-16.
At this forecast level the gross value of farm production would be around 16% higher than the average of $52 billion over the five years to 2015-16.
Despite this, the gross value of livestock production is forecast to decrease by 2.2% to $28.5 billion in 2016-17, following an estimated 7.7% increase in 2015-16.
The Australian Farm Institute’s Mick Keogh said attempting to forecast how Australian agriculture will fare in 2017 is an exercise fraught with risk, but “it’s probably fair to assume that for most involved in the sector, 2017 will not be as good as 2016.”
“The last time such a big jump in the annual value of agricultural output occurred was in 2001-02, a period that also involved that rare combination of good seasonal conditions and high commodity prices,” Mr Keogh said.
“However, the onset of the millennium drought in 2003 meant that it was a further seven years before the gross value of agricultural output exceeded the level achieved in 2001-02.
“Hopefully the coming seasons will not be a repeat of the mid-2000s, and the current state of both public and private water storages in the eastern states provide some reassurance that the sector is well positioned if a dry season is forthcoming.”
Mr Keogh said technology and access to open data would also be a big issue facing farmers in 2017.
“Many of the potential gains from digital agriculture are not available without good internet connectivity, something which is sadly lacking for many agricultural businesses, even those located close to major regional centres,” he said.
“Getting data availability and telecommunications access right will be a major challenge if the benefits of digital agriculture are to be realised in Australia, and 2017 is shaping up as a critical year for both these issues.”
POSITIVE GROWTH: The gross value of agriculture production in 2016 will exceed $60 billion, 16% higher than the previous five years.