Aussie farm production to top $60b

Good news continues for much of the Australian farming sector, following on from last week’s record winter crop forecast, with the gross value of farm production set to increase by 6%, topping $60 billion in 2016–17 for the first time, according to the latest Agricultural Commodities report. Source: AFDJ eNews

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the latest forecast, released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), would be around 16% higher than the average of $52 billion over the five years to 2015–16 in nominal terms.

“The good news comes thanks to increased crop production generally across all states as well as Australia’s strong exports. Export earnings from farm commodities are forecast to increase by 7% to $47.5 billion in 2016–17, with another $1.6 billion forecast for fishery exports,” Minister Joyce said.

“Growth in exports can, in part, be attributed to the Coalition Government’s successful trade deals, including the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and the Australia Korea Free Trade Agreement.

“When it comes to the export of goods, agricultural exports are now Australia’s second-biggest export after mining.

“The gross value of crop production is forecast to increase by 15% to $31.7 billion in 2016–17, due in part to recent record high winter crop production of 52.4 million tonnes and forecast gains in the gross value of horticulture and cotton production.

“Seasonal conditions across most cropping regions have been very favourable, with above average rainfall recorded in September, followed by mild spring conditions, which has encouraged increases across all states for the first time in nine years.

“It has been a big year for agriculture in Australia,” Minister Joyce said. “Through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Coalition Government has set about creating an environment where our farm businesses can continue to generate the kind of productivity we’ve seen in this latest ABARES forecast.

“We’re delivering more flexibility to farming enterprises by making improvements to Farm Management Deposits, allowing farmers to withdraw their deposits during lean years without losing their taxation benefit. We are also encouraging new investment by allowing farmers to depreciate new on-farm fodder storage assets over three years.

“We’ve changed the rules around fencing depreciation to allow primary producers to immediately deduct the cost of new fencing. We’re improving drought preparedness with Drought Concessional Loans of $250 million each year for 10 years and $22.8 million to increase the Farm Household Allowance case management for farmers doing it tough.

“I’m proud of the Coalition Government’s continued support for farmers and our delivery of White Paper measures. We’re giving our hard-working famers a fairer go, promoting productivity and providing them the best opportunity to continue breaking records.”

To read the December quarter edition of the ABARES Agricultural commodities report, visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications