Boom times for Aussie farm production

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The year ahead is looking to be a productive one for fruit growers and crop farmers. The year ahead is looking to be a productive one for fruit growers and crop farmers. The year ahead is looking to be a productive one for fruit growers and crop farmers.

Australian farm production will rise to $58.5 billion in 2016–17, which is about 12 per cent higher than the average for the past five years, according to a new agricultural commodities report.


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Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) executive director Karen Schneider says a favourable start to the season, firm export demand and a forecasted increase in the production of crops are contributing to the boost predicted in the body’s latest report.

"In 2016–17, the gross value of crop production is set to increase to $28.6 billion and this is being driven by forecast rises in the value of sugar, cotton and horticulture production," Schneider says.

"After rising by 10.9 per cent in 2015–16, the gross value of livestock production is forecast to remain at around $29.8 billion in 2016–17."

The overall total value of export earnings from farm commodities is forecast to decrease by 2.5 per cent to $43 billion.

The best performers out of these are expected to be cotton (up 21 per cent), sugar (14 per cent), canola (12 per cent) wool (up 6 per cent), live feeder/slaughter cattle (3 per cent) and lamb (1 per cent).

"These rises will be more than offset by falls in export earnings for beef and veal, wheat, dairy products, barley, chickpeas and mutton," Schneider says.

"Export earnings for fisheries products are forecast to remain at around $1.7 billion in 2016–17, after an estimated increase of 16.7 per cent in 2015–16."

Without a change to the existing trade barriers for Australian dairy exports and stronger European demand for imported dairy products generally, Australian exports to Europe are unlikely to increase significantly in the short term, according to the report.

Changing diets in Asia's middle class, the depreciation of the Australian dollar and improved market access are expected to help increase the amount of Australian fresh fruit and vegetables that will be exported in 2016-17.

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