/ 15 September 2021

Good prices and a cracking season for our farmers

Image source: Louie Douvis
Image source: Louie Douvis

THE SQUIZ
We don’t want to jinx Australian agriculture, but government economists reckon the industry is in for a bloomin’ bonza year. The value of the food and fibre produced and sold is expected to hit $73 billion this financial year, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) predicts. An expected $54.7 billion of that should come from exports – also a record. If it comes to pass (weather and every other variable permitting…), it will be the first time the farm sector has broken the $70 billion mark. That should put “a spring in farmers’ step,” said National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson.

GIDDY-UP… WHAT’S FRESH?
Grains. A bumper winter crop and strong prices should take the 2021-22 harvest’s value to $30 billion, a boost of 17% on last financial year. Near perfect growing conditions in Oz and poor conditions in the US, the Russian Federation and Canada have helped deliver that result. The red meat industry is also killing it (ahem…) – it’s expected to jump by 8% to hit $33.5 billion. The laws of supply and demand mean low stock numbers after the drought have driven prices to record highs – good for farmers with cattle and sheep to sell, not great for farmers looking to restock or consumers with a love of steak. Other commodities like cotton, fruit and veg, sugar, and wool all get a thumbs up for a promising year. 

HOW GOOD IS THAT?
Real good, but it’s not all smooth sailing. Not receiving a bump – barley, wine and other products that benefit from Australia having a good relationship with China. That’s something the good weather can’t fix… And the COVID crisis has hurt farm production by limiting the available workforce, and it’s also mucked up international freight. Then there’s the [shiver] mouse plague that’s ongoing in NSW and now in Western Oz… None of that takes the shine off the prediction or the Farmers Federation’s aim to hit $100 billion in farm production by 2030. With Aussie farmers providing food security for the nation, more than 10% of our exports, and direct jobs for more than 300,000 workers, there are plenty of people cheering them on.

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