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 Broadacre industries to perform well

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6 March 2012

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is projecting strong average farm cash income performance for all broadacre industries in 2011-12.

The findings are part of the latest ABARES farm survey data, which the bureau released today at its Outlook conference. Outlook is the agricultural sector’s key annual conference and is being held in Canberra on 6-7 March.

ABARES Assistant Secretary, Biosecurity and Farm Analysis, Bruce Bowen, said financial performance in the sector has been boosted by the above-average rainfall received this season across Australia.

“It is the first time for more than 30 years that we expect positive average farm business profits in all states and all industries, for broadacre farms,” Mr Bowen said.

“Western Australia is projected to have the largest increase in farm cash income in 2011-12 at around 20 per cent, while the average farm cash income for Australian sheep farms is expected to be the highest in real terms since 1988-89.”

The volume of grains and oilseeds produced increased sharply in 2010-11 with record wheat production. ABARES has estimated that the latest wheat harvest exceeded this record. Similarly, the improved seasonal conditions in the eastern states since 2009-10 have led to a 15 per cent increase in the size of the national cattle herd and a similar increase to the national sheep flock.

“The good seasonal conditions have resulted in a substantial improvement in the productive capacity of Australian agriculture as seen with the significant rebuilding of livestock numbers, the continued strong investment in farm capital, and the current high levels of irrigation and on-farm water supplies,” Mr Bowen said.

“Our surveys also found that many broadacre producers have taken advantage of the recent relatively favourable returns to consolidate their financial positions.

“It would be timely for farmers to re-examine their farm plans to position themselves favourably for the future and for those two-thirds of farmers without farm plans to consider preparing one.”

These figures and the farm surveys will be discussed at an Outlook session called Farm sector performance – current and future prospects, featuring Bruce Bowen of ABARES, Mick Keogh of the Australian Farm Institute, and Khan Horne of the National Australia Bank.

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