ABARES predicts $7bn production boost

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Good conditions in Australia, and poor conditions everywhere else, will see the value of Australian agricultural production rise $7 billion to $73 billion in 2021-22, according to government forecasts

ABARES predicts $7bn production boost
ABARES forecasts the value of canola exports will rise 50 per cent in 2021-22,

 

Australian agricultural production is forecast to be worth $73 billion in the 2021-22 financial year, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.

The forecast is up from the $66 billion in agricultural production generated in the last financial year, with the value of ag exports predicted to reach $54.7 billion, also a new record.

If what has been forecast in ABARES’ Agricultural Commodities: September Quarter report comes true, it will be the first time the agriculture sector is valued at over $70 billion, ABARES executive director Jared Greenville says.

"The forecast for next year is due to a combination of factors, all tumbling neatly into place," he says

"The value of crop production is set to rise by 7 per cent to $39.5 billion because of another near-record winter crop harvest, combined with strong global prices for grain, sugar and cotton.

"While there are risks related to mice, labour availability and continued uncertainties due to COVID-19, we are expecting national production to remain robust.

Greenville adds that he forecasts Australia will have "another robust harvest," while poor harvests in North America and Europe, due to poor seasonal conditions, mean that grain prices are rising globally.

The price of cotton is forecast to surge 38 per cent, while that of canola and wool is also expected to rise 16 per cent over the course of the financial year.

The value of canola exports is actually expected to rise 50 per cent due to higher prices and an expansion in the area planted, while barley prices are expected to fall due to tariffs imposed by China.

"Strong domestic production and a favourable global market are set to see exports also hit a record of close to $55 billion in 2021-22," Greenville says.

"The biggest contribution to growth in exports will be crops, which are set to rise by 17 per cent to $30 billion."

Greenville adds that the value of livestock production is also tipped to rise to $33.5 billion, an increase of 8 per cent, as farmers enjoy record prices for young cattle amid optimism at the saleyards.

Should overseas conditions improve post 2021-22, it is likely that crop prices will come back down, ABARES adds.

The report identifies a lack of access to farm workers, trade challenges, increased international freight costs and the ongoing mouse plague, as speed humps, but ones that were unlikely to take the shine off what should be an unprecedented positive result.

The report was welcomed by the National Farmers Federation, which said Australia was moving closer to reaching its target of $100 billion by 2030.

NFF president Fiona Simson says the data is confirmation of the sector’s strength, praising recent government moves to introduce a dedicated Agriculture Visa and to fund an expanded biosecurity system to protect the industry from introduced pests and diseases.

"Australian farmers are the most innovative in the world, committed to continuous improvement and to finding new ways to grow smarter, more efficiently and more sustainably," she says.

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