Ag Industry, Forecasts

Latest ABARES figures tip production boost

ABARES’ latest agricultural outlook predicts a significant increase in agricultural production for the year ahead, driven by increased livestock value and a record horticultural value

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is predicting the value of agricultural production will reach $84 billion for 2024-25, an increase of $2 billion on last year, and a figure which would be the third highest in Australia’s history.

Its latest agricultural outlook credits much of this increase to a $1.1 billion rise in livestock production and livestock product values, due to rising slaughter and prices.

Livestock

With a growing global demand and a constrained global supply, ABARES expects livestock prices to continue to rise. Beef and lamb saleyard prices are also forecasted to rise by 18 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

Given there is growing demand, with a recovery from the lows of 2023-24, livestock production volumes are expected to rise steadily.

ABARES predicts the value of beef and veal production will rise by 1 per cent in 2024–25, and sheep meat production by 2 per cent.

A rise of $100 million in wool production, to a value of $2.9 billion, is being driven by higher expected prices, while milk production is set to fall $400 million, to $5.6 billion, due to lower farmgate milk prices and production.

Livestock and livestock product export volumes are forecast to rise by $470 million to $30.1 billion due to higher domestic production and increased global prices.

Crops

Crop production is forecast to rise significantly – by $730 million – in 2024–25, with ABARES’ report saying that domestic production is increasing the crops’ value, despite falling prices.

Australia’s winter crop production volumes are expected to rise 9 per cent to 51.3 million tonnes in 2024-25 – due to a positive winter rainfall outlook and expected improvements in production in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.

Should this happen, ABARES says it would be the fifth highest volume ever recorded in Australia and would be 9 per cent above the ten-year average of 47 million tonnes recorded to 2023-24.

ABARES says domestic prices for most crops are set to fall because of decreasing global prices, which are expected to drop due to higher global production and reduced market uncertainty.

However, higher domestic production of wheat, pulses and horticulture is outweighing falling prices, with improved growing conditions in Queensland and New South Wales expected to help increase production of wheat, with ABARES predicting its value to rise $400 million and reach $10.1 billion.

The value of pulses is expected to rise by 28 per cent or about $800 million to

be worth $3.5 billion in 2024-25, with ABARES saying chickpea and lentil production values are expected to increase by 190 per cent to $1.1 billion and by 3 per cent to $1.5 billion respectively.

Following the recent Hort Connections expo in Melbourne, horticulture values are forecast to grow by around 3 per cent or $500 million, reaching a record of $17.4 billion.

“Higher production volumes are due to improved growing conditions, higher water availability and lower input costs,” the report says.

The value of canola and cotton however, are expected to fall by $400 million and $300 million respectively due to lower production volumes.

Exports

Agricultural export values are set to fall approximately $2.9 billion to $69 billion due to lower crop export values, ABARES says. Despite this forecast fall, it is still expected to be the third highest on record.

Lower export volumes and easing of global prices across major commodities is driving crop export values down, with ABARES predicting a decline of $3.3 billion to $38.9 billion in 2024-25.

“The majority of global crop prices are expected to fall following annual declines in 2023–24, as global supply continues to improve,” the report says.

“In particular, global oilseed and grain supply is expected to increase, with improving production conditions in many major global grain and oilseed exporters driving higher world corn and soybean production.”

Although there is an overall decrease in global crop prices, ABARES expects sugar and rice prices to remain above their 10-year averages due to increased global consumption and restricted supply.

Seasonal conditions

ABARES is predicting a wet winter across southern Australia, with above median rainfall likely – except for southern parts of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, where below median rainfall is likely.

Having entered its dry season, Northern Australia is expected to receive below median rainfall, however ABARES says northeast Queensland will probably see above median rainfall.

For the rest of Australia, ABARES says there is an equal chance of having above or below median rainfall.

“Across cropping regions, the probability of exceeding median rainfall is between 40 per cent and 60 per cent in the eastern states and South Australia,” the report says.

“Western Australian cropping regions have a higher probability – between 50 and 75 per cent – of receiving above median rainfall.”

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