7506.0 - Agricultural Industries, Financial Statistics, Australia, Preliminary, 1995-96  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/1997   
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Crop recovery lifts rural sector after drought

Preliminary farm finance estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show an improvement in the financial performance of the rural sector in 1995-96 following easing of drought conditions.

Turnover in 1995-96 was estimated at $26.0 billion, an increase of 10.5 per cent on the 1994-95 turnover of $23.5 billion. Turnover increased in all States.

The major contributor to this increase was an increase in the sale of crops to $12.8 billion in 1995-96, up by 30.1 per cent from 1994-95. Sales of livestock products decreased from $5.6 billion in 1994-95 to $4.7 billion in 1995-96, reflecting the lower wool prices. Turnover from sales of livestock was $6.2 billion in 1995-96, little changed from the previous year.

The grain and grain-sheep/beef industries experienced significant increases in turnover as a result of higher returns for crops while the major livestock industries, sheep and beef, experienced falls in turnover in 1995-96. Turnover in the sheep-beef cattle industry fell 20.5 per cent, the sheep industry fell 14.2 per cent and the beef industry fell 5.7 per cent. The dairy industry continued to experience growth, with turnover increasing by 4.5 per cent to $2.8 billion in 1995-96.

Farm business cash operating surplus in 1995-96 was $6.4 billion, an increase of 31.7 per cent on the 1994-95 level of $4.8 billion. The average cash operating surplus per farm business in 1995-96 was $60,700. The farm business profit margin (cash operating surplus as a proportion of turnover) in 1995-96 was 24.5 per cent. This was 3.9 percentage points higher than the 1994-95 profit margin.

Gross indebtedness of the farming industry fell by 8 per cent in the year to June 1996. Farm businesses owed $16.8 billion at the end of June 1996, compared to a debt of $18.3 billion at the end of June 1995. The average debt per farm business at June 1996 was $160,300.

Farm businesses paid $1.5 billion in interest during 1995-96, a small decrease on 1994-95.

Details are in Agricultural Industries, Financial Statistics, Australia. Preliminary Estimates 1995-96 (cat. no. 7506.0) available from ABS bookshops.