Pro­duc­tion above av­er­age de­spite dry

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - WEATHER | INSIDE - See the full re­port: www.agri­cul­ture.gov.au.

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.”

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