7506.0 - Agricultural Industries, Financial Statistics, Australia, Preliminary, 1996-97  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/02/1998   
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February 3, 1998
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Farm finances hold steady

Preliminary farm finance estimates for the financial year 1996-97, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today, showed little change in farm finances at the national level compared to the previous year. This follows a substantial improvement in 1995-96 after the easing of the drought in the eastern States.

However, performance at the State level was mixed, with Queensland showing strong growth while Western Australia and South Australia showed significant declines.

Turnover in 1996-97 was estimated at $26.1 billion, a 2.3 per cent decrease on 1995-96 turnover. Turnover in the beef cattle industry fell 17.9 per cent to $2.5 billion, while in the sheep-beef cattle industry turnover fell 16.4 per cent to $1.2 billion.

Turnover from sales of livestock decreased from $6.3 billion in 1995-96 to $5.5 billion in 1996-97, reflecting lower beef prices. Sales from livestock products increased 5.4 per cent to $5.2 billion in 1996-97. Turnover from the sales of crops was $13.0 billion.

Farm business cash operating surplus in 1996-97 was $5.6 billion, a decrease of 13.6 per cent on the 1995-96 level of $6.4 billion. The average cash operating surplus per farm business in 1996-97 was $52,400, 11.6 per cent lower than in 1995-96.

Gross indebtedness of the farming industry was $19.1 billion at the end of June 1997, compared to a debt of $19.6 billion at the end of June 1996. The average debt per farm business at June 1997 was $180,100. Farm businesses paid $1.7 billion in interest during 1996-97, a marginal increase of 4.3 per cent on the previous year.

Details are available in Agricultural Industries, Financial Statistics, Australia, Preliminary 1996-97 (cat. no. 7506.0) available from ABS bookshops.