FARM cash income of Australian grain producing farms is estimated to have declined in 2014–15 to average $171,000 per farm, around 24 per cent higher than the 10-year average to 2013–14, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES).
ABARES executive director Karen Schneider said the results followed a period of relatively high income in recent years compared with historical averages.
“Nationally, farm cash income of grain producing farms increased from $189,590 in 2012–13 to $213,100 in 2013–14, or 68 per cent above the 10 year average to 2012–13,” Ms Schneider said.
“Farm cash incomes in 2013–14 were boosted by high yields in Western Australia and South Australia that resulted in the second largest winter crop on record.”
Ms Schneider said the decline in farm cash incomes in 2014–15 reflected reduced winter grain yields in all regions and lower prices for wheat, oilseeds and pulses.
“For southern region grain producing farms, farm cash income is estimated to have decreased to average $184,000 a farm in 2014–15, but still 43 per cent above the 10-year average to 2013?14,” Ms Schneider said.
“Similarly for western region grain producing farms, farm cash income is estimated to have decreased in 2014–15 to average $262,000 a farm, 24 per cent above the 10-year average to 2013?14.
“Dry seasonal conditions in the northern region have resulted in estimated farm cash income of grain producing farms falling to average $79,000 a farm in 2014–15, around 24 per cent below the 10-year average to 2013?14.”
Ms Schneider said that farm debt — an important source of funding for investment and ongoing working capital — had increased by less than 1 per cent during 2013–14 on the back of strong returns for many grain producing farms.
“Around 47 per cent of Australian grain producing farms reduced farm debt in 2013–14,” Ms Schneider said.
The results were released today in Australian grains: Financial performance of grain producing farms 2012–13 to 2014–15.