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Despite Decline in Agriculture Production, Sector Remains Resilient

Crop production is set to fall 20 percent this year, yet Australian agriculture is still expected to deliver its third-highest annual gross value on record.

The latest forecast from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, or ABARES, predicts production value will reach $86 billion (US$55.5 billion) this financial year, down slightly from the record $92 billion last year.

ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said the reports show the sector remains strong despite challenging conditions.

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“The forecast 14 percent decrease will see the value fall to $80 billion in 2023/24 because of drier domestic conditions and an expected fall in global commodity prices,” Mr. Greenville said.

The crops and commodity reports expect total crop production value will fall 20 percent to $46 billion.

“National winter crop production is expected to be around 45.2 million tonnes, slightly below the 10-year average,” he said.

“Drier conditions are so far having the greatest impact on northern cropping areas, with prospects for the southern cropping regions holding up after better-than-expected winter rainfall.”

Summer crop plantings will fall from last year but still remain above the average due to high levels of water storage taking the sting out of lower spring and summer rainfall.

Drier conditions will also mean livestock producers are likely to send more animals to slaughter.

Saleyard prices for cattle and sheep are expected to fall as supply increases, while sheep prices are also forecast to fall below their long-term average.

Along with a fall in global meat prices, the value of livestock production is forecast to fall by $1.6 billion to $34 billion in 2023/24.

Exports are also on the decline, with ABARES expecting them to fall by 17 percent to $65 billion.

“It is important to remember that falls are coming off the back of record years which have helped rebuild financial reserves and our agricultural sector remains resilient and competitive,” Mr. Greenville said.

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