Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003
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Estimates of selected financial aggregates of farm businesses are shown in tables and graphs 16.14-16.20. The estimates have been derived from the Agricultural Finance Survey, conducted annually from 1986-87 to 1999-2000.
Turnover is the sum of gross proceeds from the sales of crops, livestock, livestock products and other miscellaneous revenue, and is a good guide to the level of farm business activity. The average turnover per farm business increased by 2% to $275,000 during 1999-2000 and was due to an increase in total turnover, since the estimated number of farm businesses had increased for the first time in several years (table 16.16).
In 1999-2000, 24,000 or 23% of Australian farm businesses had a turnover of $300,000 or more, and contributed 66% of the total turnover of all Australian farms. Their average turnover was $779,000 and the average cash operating surplus (a measure of profitability) was $153,000. The farm business profit margin (the ratio of cash operating surplus to turnover) for these businesses was 20%.
At the other end of the scale, 19,000 farms (18%) had a turnover of less than $50,000. These farm businesses contributed only 2% of the total turnover, at an average of $33,000. These farms had an estimated average cash operating surplus of only $26 per farm, which equated to a farm business profit margin of 0.1%.
In 1999-2000 the overall farm business profit margin was 20%, which was the same as for 1998-99 (graph 16.17).
Australian farm businesses owed a total of $26.2b at 30 June 2000 (table 16.18), an 8% increase on the total owing at end June 1999. The aggregate debt has risen steadily from $11.5b in 1986-87 when the current series of agricultural finance surveys began. There was, however, a wide range of debt levels among individual farm businesses, with a third of all farm businesses having a debt of less than $22,000 (with 20% reporting no debt), a third owing between $22,000 and $200,000 and a third owing more than $200,000. Overall, the median debt per farm business was $87,000 at 30 June 2000. The total interest bill for Australian farm businesses, at $1.9b, was 13% higher than in 1998-99.
Graph 16.19 shows that the average debt to asset ratio for agricultural businesses has continued its slow downward trend of recent years. Graph 16.20 shows a decrease in the average interest coverage of agricultural businesses, from 4.4 times in 1998-99 to 4.0 times in 1999-2000. This reflects the impact of a greater increase in interest paid compared to cash operating surplus.
This page last updated 23 January 2006
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