Mixed season for Australian agriculture in 2017-18


The value of Australian agriculture was $58.9 billion in 2017-18, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  ABS Director of Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns, said this was a slightly lower result for 2017-18 Australian agricultural production, and came off the back of record production for many broadacre crops in 2016-17. This result was the second highest value of agricultural production in recent years.

“The total value of crops decreased 11 per cent to $29.3 billion in 2017-18 returning to similar values to those achieved in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Driving the decrease in 2017-18 was the value of wheat, down 23 per cent to $5.7 billion, and barley, down 14 per cent to $2.3 billion. Some of the decrease was offset by increases in horticultural crops (up 5 per cent to $10 billion) and cotton (up 49 per cent to $2.5 billion),” Ms Binns said.

“The total value of livestock products increased 20 per cent in 2017-18, to $9.6 billion, driven by international demand for Australian superfine wool pushing the value of wool up 30 per cent to $4.5 billion.”

The data also show that the value of livestock disposals in 2017-18 was largely unchanged from 2016-17, at $20 billion. Dry conditions in eastern states meant many sheep farms destocked, which increased the value of sheep and lamb disposals 11 per cent to $4 billion. Australia’s sheep flock decreased 2 per cent to sit at 70.6 million.

Australia’s beef herd remained similar in size to 2016-17 at 23.8 million head. Herd re-building at the start of the season reduced or stopped as seasonal conditions worsened into 2018. The value of beef cattle disposals decreased 1 per cent to $12 billion.

Further information can be found in Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2017-18 (cat. no. 7121.0); and Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2017-18 (cat. no. 7503.0).

Media note

These results are for the 2017-18 financial year and pre-date the declaration of drought in large parts of New South Wales and Queensland in the second half of 2018, and more recent weather events in 2019 including flooding in northern Queensland, and cyclones in northern Western Australia.

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