ABARES’ latest outlook for 2012, released at its national annual conference in Canberra this morning, suggests that farm business profits will rise across all states in 2012, the first time that has happened in 30 years.
The ABARES report predicts that farm export earnings will rise by 9.4 percent in this financial year to $35.5 billion.
Farm cash incomes in a number of eastern states are projected to be between 20 to 70pc higher than the average over the past 10 years.
Western Australia is projected to have the highest farm cash income this year – around 20pc – largely because of the positive rebound in winter grain crop production.
Earnings from farm exports will remain steady in the short-term, staying comfortably above $35 billion this financial year and the next. The outlook over the medium and long term is positive.
ABARES has predicted total summer crop production to rise by 18 per cent in 2011-12 to 5.4 million tonnes.
NFF president Jock Laurie said 2012 was shaping as a good year to be an Australian farmer.
“2012 is proving to be a very positive year,” Mr Laurie said.
“This is a very positive picture for Australian farmers, compared to the drought conditions we have faced over the previous decade.
“Obviously, many farmers and rural communities across eastern Australia are currently facing flood conditions, which have already caused millions, if not billions, of dollars damage to crops, livestock and vital infrastructure like roads, railways and fences.
“This is a very difficult time for affected farmers – and we can only hope that in the long-term, these floods will return moisture to the soil and help set up those farmers for good future seasons. After all, farmers are very resilient,” Mr Laurie said.
The ABARES report follows the release of the NFF Farm Facts for 2012 last week, which showed that farm export earnings for 2010-11 equalled $32.5 billion.
“Australian agriculture continues to be a solid performer and makes important contributions to Australia’s society, economy and environment,” Mr Laurie said.
“After a very challenging period, these predictions show that the agricultural sector and our farmers are back on their feet. The focus now must be on planning ahead, ensuring a strong and sustainable future for the agricultural sector, and the NFF’s Blueprint for Australian Agriculture will play a vital role in this,” Mr Laurie said.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, said a strong financial outlook and increased summer crop production meant conditions in the first half of 2012 would be the best in years.
Keep an eye on Beef Central for a detailed account of ABARES beef industry forecast later today.