Media Release

​Sunny five-year outlook for Australian agriculture

6 March 2018

  • Forecast sunny with Aussie farmers set to produce and export more over the next five years.
  • Farm production to average $60 billion compared with less than $50 billion under Labor.
  • Step change in farm production at $63 billion and farm exports almost $50 billion by 2022–23.

​Australian farm production and exports have been given a sunny five-year forecast at the annual ABARES Outlook Conference.

Average farm production and exports are both expected to lock in at the higher levels of recent years, with the average 2022-23 figures expected to match those of last year's huge result.

Opening the ABARES Outlook Conference today, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said a slight dip was expected after the 2016-17 record result, with good improvement in the four years following.

"Agriculture continues to kick goals but we are not immune to fluctuations," Minister Littleproud said.

"Last year was a record breaking season exceeding $60 billion for the first time, up from $48 billion when the Coalition came to office.

"Even with a forecast decline in 2017–18, the gross value of farm production is set to reach $59 billion in 2017–18, with $47 billion worth of exports following average winter crop production. While not as high as 2016-17, that is an outstanding result.

"Farm production is forecast to rise over the next five years to $63 billion and the value of exports is forecast to increase to almost $50 billion by 2022–23. What was a stellar outcome last year is set to become normal practice for Australia's highly productive farmers.

"We continue to see increased demand for our clean, green produce in Asia.

"Agriculture is a consistent performer a powerhouse of the economy and keeps our country towns ticking.

"It is also the lifeblood of rural and regional communities and employs more than 300,000 Australians directly and supports many more jobs in related industries.

"Variability is unfortunately part and parcel of running a farm business.

"The Coalition Government is building farm resilience through the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

"Farmers can access 100 per cent tax write offs on water infrastructure and fences and write offs over three years for fodder storage.

"We are helping farmers manage through leaner years doubling Farm Management Deposits from $400,000 to $800,000.

"This government is focussed on better access to high-value global markets and already this year we have secured the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and signed the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

"A key achievement since I took on agriculture has been passing legislation to establish the $4 billion Regional Investment Corporation to deliver concessional loans and water infrastructure loans directly to regional communities and farm businesses.

"Since 2013 we have increased biosecurity investment by over 29 per cent, totalling over $783 million.

"The Coalition Government has created an environment for agriculture to succeed, and it is, leading to future farmgate returns and prosperous and vibrant regional centres."

Fast facts

  • ABARES has forecast a 5 per cent decline in the gross value of farm production in 2017–18 to $59 billion, largely due to a forecast 11 per cent fall in the gross value of crops following record production in 2016–17.
  • From 2018–19 to 2022–23 the gross value of farm production is forecast to increase by an average of around 1.2 per cent per year, reaching nearly $63 billion (in 2017–18 dollars).
  • In 2017–18 the value of farm exports is expected to decline by 4 per cent to $47 billion, in line with a return to more average winter crop production volumes.
  • From 2019–20 to 2022–23 the value of exports is forecast to increase by an average of 1.2 per cent per year, reaching nearly $50 billion by 2022–23 (in 2017–18 dollars).