FARM Weekly has retained the mantle of WA's biggest selling rural newspaper for the eighth consecutive year.
The latest audited circulation figures released for the six-month period January to June 2003 by the independent Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) shows Farm Weekly's weekly circulation at 13,447, compared to Countryman at 9,616.
During the audit period Farm Weekly's circulation grew by an average of 238 copies per week, with Countryman in the same period fell by 678 copies.
Farm Weekly publisher Trevor Emery is understandably delighted with the latest audited survey results.
"Six months ago the weekly circulation difference between Farm Weekly and our direct competitor Countryman was 2915 copies. That differential has now grown to 3831 copies - close to 30pc," he said.
"Over the past decade we have seen a significant shift in the weekly sales between the two papers.
"Since the September 1994 audit, Countryman's circulation has plummeted from sales of 15,201 copies per week to the latest audited figure of 9,616 copies - a fall of almost 37pc.
"Farm Weekly has remained very stable increasing from 13,309 copies to 13,447 copies for the same period, in effect over the audited period our overall market share of circulation has increased from 46.7pc to 58.3 pc, a very pleasing result.
"Farm Weekly's strength in the market place is further enhanced by the fact that more than 70pc of its circulation comes from subscriptions.
"The very large subscriber base has long been a draw card for advertisers and promoters of news who are guaranteed of a definite weekly target audience as opposed to the hit and miss reliance of casual newsagency sales."
Mr Emery said he believed the demand for Farm Weekly product was a direct result of the calibre of the Farm Weekly staff, many of whom were specifically trained for the rural newspaper industry.
"Our staff have a very good understanding of what is required in the marketplace and they have the expertise to deliver," he said.
"Many are from a rural background, born and raised on rural properties, with a great empathy and passion for rural WA.
"Our journalistic staff and stud stock team do not see working for Farm Weekly as a stepping stone to other media careers. Their interests lie in the rural area and fortunately the size of Rural Press (Farm Weekly's parent company) provides numerous opportunities for advancement."
Another aspect which sets Farm Weekly apart from its competitors is the number and quality of special publications produced annually as add-on value to readers.
In the coming financial year, Farm Weekly will produce as many as 15 special publications representing a host of rural industries including machinery field days, grain growing, beef, sheep and wool, product directories and events calendars.