LIFTS in livestock values and crop production are expected to help bolster the gross value of Australia’s farm production by 8 per cent in 2015–16 to around $57.1 billion.
At this forecast level, the gross value of farm production in 2015-16 would be around 16 per cent higher than the average of $49.2 billion over the five years to 2014-15 in nominal terms.
The figures are contained in the September edition of Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences’ (ABARES) Agricultural Commodities report.
In a statement, ABARES executive director Karen Schneider said favourable seasonal conditions, an assumed lower Australian dollar and strong international demand are expected to drive the value of Australian farm production in 2015–16.
“The value of livestock production is forecast to increase by around 11 per cent in 2015–16 to $29.1 billion, on the back of an expected increase in farmgate prices for beef cattle, lamb, sheep and wool,” Ms Schneider said.
“Also underpinning strong farm production is the increase in the gross value of crop production, expected to rise by 5 per cent in 2015–16 to $28.1 billion following generally favourable cropping conditions over winter.”
Earnings from farm exports are forecast to decline by 0.1 per cent in 2015–16 to $43.4 billion, and are expected to fall for beef and veal (down 3 per cent), dairy (down 4 per cent), lamb (down 1 per cent), sugar (down 2 per cent), live feeder/slaughter cattle (down 8 per cent), cotton (down 33 per cent) and mutton (down 13 per cent).
These decreases are expected to be partly offset by increased export earnings for wheat (up 4 per cent), coarse grains (up 9 per cent), wool (up 1 per cent), canola (up 2 per cent) and chickpeas (70 per cent).
Export earnings for crops are forecast to increase to around $22.2 billion in 2015–16, from an estimated $21.8 billion in 2014–15.
Export earnings for livestock and livestock products are forecast to decrease slightly to $21.3 billion, following an estimated rise of 19 per cent to $21.7 billion in 2014–15.
However, Ms Schneider said forecast export earnings from farm commodities were around 14 per cent higher than the five-year average of $38.2 billion.
Export earnings for fisheries products are set to increase by 11 per cent to around $1.6 billion, after increasing by an estimated 10 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2014–15.
The index of unit returns for Australian farm exports is forecast to rise by 4 per cent in 2015–16, following an estimated rise of 6 per cent in 2014–15.
ABARES says the forecast increase in 2015–16 mainly reflects the effect of an assumed decline in the Australian exchange rate, especially against the US dollar.