FOR the 19th consecutive audit period, Farm Weekly has been confirmed as WA's biggest-selling rural newspaper.
The latest audited circulation figures released last week by the independent Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) show Farm Weekly's average weekly circulation at 13,573, compared to Countryman at 9790.
Farm Weekly's average weekly circulation is now 3783 copies or 38.6pc more per week than Countryman, and with 70pc of Farm Weekly's circulation represented by subscription sales, it remains unquestionably the state's dominant force in providing rural news.
WA is Australia's biggest wheat producing state, but also has the most big-scale farmers. The total number of farmers in the state is only around 23,000, so Farm Weekly's share of the market is close to 60pc.
For the comparative audit periods, July 1 to December 31, 2004 and July 1 to December 31, 2005, Farm Weekly again experienced circulation growth, while Countryman's circulation dropped by 627 copies or 6pc, despite the inclusion of event sales into its circulation numbers.
The audit capped an excellent first-half result for Farm Weekly, and publisher Trevor Emery was quick to acknowledge the efforts of staff and their contribution towards the on-going circulation growth.
"We have an extremely dedicated and capable group of people who are committed to the rural industry and are delivering a complete package to our readers week in and week out," Mr Emery said.
"Our journalists understand the market they are writing for and have the expertise to deliver stories that provide all the information.
"We believe in reporting on the economic and social issues that affect rural WA, stories that will provide information and assistance to our 40,000 readers each week, helping them to make the best decisions to operate their individual rural enterprises.
"Our stud stock team is the best in Australia, all of them are from rural backgrounds and the exceptionally high quality of coverage provided each week reflects not only their knowledge of the livestock industry but their commitment and passion for the bush."
Mr Emery said the audit was a great result and indicated the investment made in the product over the past 12-18 months, including the commissioning of a new printing press at Mandurah to provide a better quality product and greater colour flexibility, had been well-received by readers.
"Our readers are getting more value for money and the audit result confirms our advertisers are spending their money in the right publication," he said.
Farm Weekly editor-in-chief Ray Chan said the editorial team was well-known for providing a balanced, yet hard-hitting, coverage of the latest issues affecting the rural sector.
"Our coverage of major rural issues has been second to none Ñ these include the Cole inquiry into AWB, the recent floods in the Wheatbelt, the discriminatory worksafe regulations against machinery dealers, and the way the government has compromised over quarantine," Mr Chan said.
"Our classifieds section also continues to be as popular as ever; if you're looking to buy or sell anything in the agricultural industry, Farm Weekly is the only paper you need.
"Add to that dynamic new layouts to both sections of the paper, and readers know they truly have a complete, professional farmer's package."
Another testament to the wide readership of the paper is the huge number of letters the paper receives each week, reflecting opinion on the myriad topics covered in the paper.