Production above average despite dry
THE gross value of Australian farm production is forecast to decrease by three per cent to $58 billion in 2018-19, 6 per cent lower than the record production in 2016-17 but still above the 10-year average of $56 billion.
ABARES Executive Director Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds said that while drought was forecast to affect the production of some commodities – especially crops – increases in farmgate prices and strong production in Western Australia are providing a buffer to the national outlook.
“The annual value of crop production is forecast to decline by seven per cent to $29 billion in 2018-19, driven by a 23 per cent fall in winter crop production nationally, as a result of the drought in cropping regions in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.
“Forecasts for an above average winter crop harvest in Western Australia and higher prices for broadacre crops are keeping the value of production from falling further. A lower Australian dollar will also help.”
On the other hand, Dr Hatfield-Dodds said the value of livestock and livestock products is forecast to increase by two per cent to almost $30 billion.
“Droughts tend to increase meat production, but high prices for lamb and wool are also forecast to support the value of production. The high cost of feed is a significant challenge for producers in drought affected regions and is resulting in higher than average cattle turn-off across eastern Australia,” he said.
“In 2018-19 export earnings for agricultural commodities are forecast to decline by seven per cent to $45 billion.
“This is largely the result of lower production due to poor seasonal conditions and increased domestic consumption of coarse grains and wheat for feed.”