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Ag production hits historic heights

Australian farmers are expected to smash production value and volume records in 2021-22 on the back of exceptional seasonal conditions and a surge in world commodity prices.

That’s according to the latest quarterly report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), released on Tuesday.

Despite recent flood and rain damage in the eastern states, the ABARES Agricultural Commodities report for the December Quarter forecasts a record breaking agricultural gross production value of $78 billion.

That’s $5.4 billion higher than what had been predicted just a few months ago.

While the value of agricultural exports is forecast to hit a record $61 billion.

The ABARES report found production will likely increase year-on-year for every major livestock commodity and almost every major crop commodity, while it’s also anticipated that farmers will produce the largest volume ever.

ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said Australia was enjoying an extraordinary combination of favourable conditions and 30-year price highs.

“It would be the first time in at least half a century that production will increase for so many products at the same time,” Dr Greenville said.

“And if these forecasts are realised, 2021-22 will see the largest total volume of agricultural commodities Australia has ever produced.”

“Prices are also at multi-year highs for many agricultural commodities,” the ABARES boss said.

“Higher export volumes and higher prices are forecast for almost every major export commodity, with the total value of agricultural exports being revised up $6.5 billion to $61 billion, also an all-time high,” he said.

“This uplift in Australian agricultural production value and volume is unprecedented and the result of exceptional growing conditions here and poor seasons being experienced by key overseas competitors.”

“There is uncertainty how long prices will remain at these levels – and supply chain disruptions, higher fertiliser prices and heavy rainfall domestically will continue to be watch points.”

“This forecast accounts for the unfortunately timed substantial rainfall and localised flooding in east coast growing regions during November.”

Dr Greenville said while the delay to harvests would result in some crop losses, it’s unlikely to have a significant impact on Australia’s national harvest tonnage.

“The larger impact will be on grain quality, with a higher than usual proportion of the crop being lower-value feed-grade wheat.”

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