Agriculture expert predicts Australian farm output will rise 3%, led by higher livestock prices

A farming family in Longreach, Queensland. Photo: Getty / File

The value of Australian farm production is expected to rise to nearly $54 billion in 2015–16, according to government forecaster ABARES.

The latest ABARES agricultural commodities report predicts a 3.1% rise in the gross value of farm production to $53.7 billion, driven primarily by 5.2% rise in the gross value of livestock production to $27.2 billion.

ABARES executive director, Karen Schneider, said higher farm gate prices for beef, lamb, sheep and wool, will offset a forecast decline of 4.1% in the volume of livestock production, as farmers look at stock rebuilding during the latter half of the year.

Crop production will increase by 0.9% to $26.5 billion in 2015–16 off the back of an expected increase in volumes, but the value of farm exports is expected to fall by around $60 million in the year ahead, from 2014-15’s expectation of $42.4 billion.

Export earnings for fisheries products will be one of the growth sectors in the coming year, Karen Schneider said, rising by 6.3% to around $1.6 billion, following on from this year’s 13.9% growth.

“Export earnings for farm commodities in 2015–16 are still expected to be around 10% higher than the average of five years to 2014–15 in nominal terms,” Schneider said.

Export earnings for coarse grains and live sheep are predicted to rise by 6%, wool and sugar by 5%, and dairy and lamb by 2%, but cotton will be hit hard with a 33% drop, alongside falls of 5% in wheat, 4% for beef, veal and live cattle, and 13% for mutton.

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