The gross value of farm production in Australia is forecast to increase by 8 per cent in 2015–16 to around $57.6 billion, or about 17 per cent higher than the average of $49.4 billion over the five years to 2014–15 in nominal terms.
Australia’s national agriculture commodities forecaster ABARES said in its latest outlook report that the increase was coming from higher prices of lamb, sheep, wool and beef cattle, despite forecasts for beef exports being revised down as farmers reduce slaughter rates.
“The forecast increase in livestock production mainly reflects expected increases in farmgate prices for beef cattle, lamb, sheep and wool,” said ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider Ms Schneider.
“We expect farmgate prices of sheep and cattle to rise as producers rebuild flocks and herds and reduce slaughter in response to an assumed improvement in seasonal conditions.
She said ABARES expected export demand for beef and lamb to also expected to remain firm, adding further upward pressure on prices.
Prices of wool are also expected to rise as a result of a forecast fall in production, based on a smaller opening flock, and an assumed lower Australian dollar, she was quoted as saying in an ABARES statement.
Forecast increases in winter crop and horticultural production are expected to more than offset falling world grains and oilseeds prices, she said, adding that export prospects would remain strong for a range of farm commodities.
The statement said that export earnings from farm commodities are forecast to increase by 1 per cent in 2015–16 to around $44 billion—around 15 per cent higher than the average of $38.2 billion over the five years to 2014–15 in nominal terms.
Export earnings are forecast to rise for a number of farm commodities, including wheat (3 per cent), wool (9 per cent), wine (3 per cent), lamb (up 1 per cent), sugar (up 8 per cent), live feeder/slaughter cattle (16 per cent to $1.3 billion) and chickpeas (56 per cent), it said.
These forecast increases are expected to be largely offset by forecast falls in export earnings from beef and veal (3 per cent), dairy (6 per cent), coarse grains (14 per cent), canola (8 per cent), cotton (21 per cent) and mutton (2 per cent). Similarly, export earnings from fisheries products are forecast to continue their recent growth, increasing by 17 per cent to $1.7 billion, after an estimated increase of 10 per cent in 2014–15.