Cotton is one of the crops attracting strong global prices at the moment
Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud

September 14, 2021

Agriculture is looking at another record-breaking year, with the gross value of production forecast to reach $73 billion in 2021-22, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

This is up from last’s year production of $66 billion, a figure that had to be revised upwards from an initial estimate of $60 billion because of better seasonal conditions.

ABARES executive director Dr Jared Greenville said if the forecast in the Agricultural Commodities: September Quarter report proved to be accurate, then it would be the first time the agriculture sector has been valued at more than $70 billion.

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

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

“While there are risks related to mice, labour availability and continued uncertainties due to COVID-19, we are expecting national production to remain robust.”

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the results were remarkable in unprecedented economic times.

“Plenty of industries in Australia haven’t seen that kind of growth,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We’re looking at our second good year in a row, with a bumper crop harvest, international demand for our produce and a strong market for livestock.

“We’ve got all our ducks in a row for a record year again underpinned by our Ag 2030 plan to help agriculture trash its $100 billion goal by 2030.

“Not only are we looking at a bumper harvest for winter crops, but there are also higher prices and greater demand for cotton, sugar and grains.

“Two good years in a row have lifted optimism in regional Australia, and this is reflected in the record prices farmers have been willing to pay for restocking cattle.

“It’s not all smooth sailing. COVID-19 continues to provide challenges for international trade, although we are working as a government to do what we can to boost international trade.

“We have listened to concerns about labour shortages and we are progressing the Agricultural Visa to make sure that we can get the fruit picked and the veggies out of the ground.

“We are also keeping an eye on mouse numbers through the spring, particularly in southern Queensland and northern and central NSW.

“While mouse numbers are unlikely to impact the harvest, they may affect grain stored on site. Bulk handlers are already upping their storage making sure that we can get as much crop to the market as possible.

“This is a year to be proud of. It shows just how strong the agriculture sector is, despite the uncertainty of a global pandemic.”

The ABARES report tipped the value of livestock production to rise to $33.5 billion, up 8 per cent.

“We’ve had a solid cropping year across the wheat-sheep belt, so we’re looking at another robust harvest,” Dr Greenville said.

“The international market is also tipped in our favour, as poor harvests in North America and Europe are 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 per cent to $30 billion.

“A good year means optimism at the saleyards, and many of our farmers are enjoying their second good year in a row. This has translated to record prices for young cattle as farmers look to restock.

“Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Australian farmers operate in one of the world’s most variable climates so we cannot expect the good seasons to keep coming. The same can be said for high world prices.

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

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