7506.0 - Agricultural Industries, Financial Statistics, Australia, Preliminary, 1997-98  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/01/1999   
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  • Farm debt up, other farm finances maintain previous levels (Media Release)


January 29, 1999
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Farm debt up, other farm finances maintain previous levels

Gross indebtedness of the farming sector increased 4% to $21.3 billion at the end of June 1998, according to preliminary farm finance estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today. However, the cost of servicing this debt actually declined compared to 1996-97, due to lower interest rates. Overall Australia's farm finances showed little change at the national level compared to the previous year.

The average debt per farm business at June 1998 was $201,700 compared with $193,000 at June 1997. In 1997-98 the fall in official interest rates was reflected in farm businesses paying interest of $1.6 billion, 7% less than 1996-97.

Turnover in 1997-98 remained steady at $27.1 billion. On an industry basis, the largest increases in turnover were recorded in the cotton industry and the sheep-beef industry at 12% and 11% respectively. The largest decreases in turnover were recorded in the vegetable industry and grain industry which decreased by 13% and 12% respectively. The grain industry continued to contribute the most to turnover ($5.1 billion), while the grain-sheep/beef industry added a further $4.2 billion.

Income from the sales of crops decreased 3% to $13.1 billion due largely to the fall in wheat prices. Sales from livestock products increased 7% to $5.8 billion in 1997-98. Income from sales of livestock was $5.9 billion.

Cash operating surplus increased 2% to $6 billion, with the average surplus for farm businesses rising 3% to $57,100 in 1997-98.

In terms of size, the number of farm businesses with turnover of $300,000 or more increased 11% to 25,000. This represented 24% of all farms and they accounted for 67% of turnover.

Details are available in Agricultural Industries, Financial Statistics, Australia, Preliminary 1997-98 (cat. no. 7506.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication may be found on this site.