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Agriculture set for record $70bn year

Alexandra Vanags
15 September 2021 1 minute readShare

High prices and record harvests come together to create potentially the biggest year for the sector ever.

Australia’s agricultural sector is anticipating its biggest year ever, with the gross value of production (GVP) forecast to reach $73 billion in 2021–22, according to a forecast just released by Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the science and economics research division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

The prediction is based on the Agricultural Commodities: September Quarter report, and if it’s accurate, it will be the first time the agricultural sector has been valued over $70 billion.

“The forecast for next year is due to a combination of factors, all tumbling neatly into place,” said ABARES executive director Dr Jared Greenville.

“The value of crop production is set to rise by 7% to $39.5 billion because of another near-record winter crop harvest, combined with strong global prices for grain, sugar and cotton.”

He added that production is expected to remain robust despite risks related to the mice plague, labour availability and the continued uncertainty related to COVID-19.

The value of livestock production is also tipped to rise to $33.5 billion, an increase of 8%.

Record exports

Meanwhile, ABARES said the international market has also “tipped in our favour”, with poor harvests in North America and Europe pushing up the price of grain.

“Strong domestic production and a favourable global market are set to see exports also hit a record of close to $55 billion in 2021–22. The biggest contribution to growth in exports will be crops, which are set to rise by 17% to $30 billion,” Dr Greenville said.

However, he ended with a warning that “all good things must come to an end” and famers cannot expect good seasons and high prices to last forever.

“That said, the last two years have placed our farmers in a good position to take on any challenges ahead,” he concluded.

Agriculture set for record $70bn year
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Alexandra Vanags

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