7113.0 - Agriculture, Australia, 1997-98  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/10/1999   
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  • Agriculture Australia shows the state of rural industry today (Media Release)


October 22, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Agriculture Australia shows the state of rural industry today

Agriculture Australia, a publication which presents a comprehensive picture of Australian agriculture on the threshold of a new century, was released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The publication contains detailed statistics on crops, livestock and livestock products, and certain farm characteristics. Also included are statistics on the financial performance of agricultural businesses, the value of agricultural commodities produced (VACP) and summary data on rural exports. In addition the publication contains two special articles, one on the emerging issue of information technology and its uptake by Australian farmers, and the second on the development of the Australian beef cattle industry.

Some of the key findings include:
  • The gross value of agricultural commodities produced for 1997-98 was $28.0 billion, a slight decrease on the previous year.
  • Exports of agricultural commodities amounted to $8.2 billion, or 9% of total merchandise exports.
  • The total value of rural exports (which, in addition to agricultural commodities, include food, timber and other manufactured goods emanating from the rural sector) amounted to $22.1 billion, or 25% of total merchandise exports.
  • Most people were employed in the broadacre industries, with the grain-sheep/beef and beef industries accounting for 27% of agricultural employment.
  • Average turnover for all farm business in 1997-98 was $262,000, slightly higher than the $256,000 recorded in 1996-97.
  • Farm businesses owed $21.6 billion at the end of 1997-98, little change from the previous year.
  • Wheat production for the year ended 31 March 1998 was 19.2 million tonnes, 16% less than the record level of 22.9 million tonnes in 1996-97 and barley production declined by 3% to 6.5 million tonnes. The gross value of wheat decreased by 22% to $3.8 billion while barley decreased by 19% to $1.1 billion.
  • In 1997-98 the gross value of livestock slaughterings and other disposals increased by 6% to $6.6 billion.
  • The gross value of other livestock products (wool, milk, eggs and honey) increased by 3% to $6.0 billion in 1997-98.

Details are in Agriculture Australia 1997-98 (cat. no. 7113.0) available from ABS bookshops in all capital cities. A brief overview of the publication can be found on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the overview. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.