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Agricultural commodities: March quarter 2018

Overview
The March edition of Agricultural commodities contains ABARES' latest outlook for Australia's key agricultural commodities to 2022-23. The report provides commodity production and export forecasts.

It also includes articles and boxes that cover: Farm performance - broadacre and dairy farms; Australia's competitiveness in the fresh produce export market; Changes to China's grain policy; The Peru FTA; Market diversity of Australian wine exports; and, Trends in Australian cotton and horticulture production.

Key Issues

Commodity production forecasts • The gross value of farm production is forecast to decline by 5 per cent to $59 billion in 2017-18, reflecting an assumed return to average seasonal conditions, before increasing by 3 per cent to $61 billion in 2018-19. ◦ The gross value of farm production nevertheless remains high. If realised, the forecast value of farm production in 2018-19 would be around 11 per cent higher than the average of $55 billion over the five years to 2016-17. ◦ The gross value of farm production is forecast to grow steadily over the outlook period to around $63 billion by 2022-23 (in 2017-18 dollars). Strong demand for livestock and some horticultural products, and improved productivity in cropping, are expected to support growth.

• The gross value of livestock production is forecast to increase by around 3 per cent to $29.6 billion in 2018-19, following a forecast increase of 2 per cent in 2017-18. ◦ The value of lamb, wool and dairy production is forecast to contribute strongly to growth in the value of livestock production in 2018-19 (as in 2017-18), driven by strong export demand (particularly from China). ◦ The value of beef and veal production is forecast to fall slightly, as a decline in export prices offsets an increase in the volume of beef produced. Despite the fall in price, returns are well above the historical average and supportive of farm profitability.

• The gross value of crop production is forecast to increase by 3 per cent to $31 billion in 2018-19, after a forecast decline of 11 per cent in 2017-18. ◦ The decline in 2017-18 follows record production of wheat, barley and canola in 2016-17 due to very favourable seasonal conditions during winter and spring. ◦ In 2018-19 the value of wheat, coarse grains and canola production is forecast to underpin growth in the value of total crop production. Wheat yields are assumed to improve (and to be around trend) following the frosts, above average temperatures and dry conditions during the winter of 2017. Area planted to coarse grains is forecast to increase due to strong global demand for feed and rotational constraints to planting pulses. Canola production is expected to increase as prices become comparatively favourable to the low coarse grain and falling pulse prices.

Commodity export forecasts • Export earnings from farm commodities are forecast to be $48.5 billion in 2018-19, slightly higher than the forecast $47 billion in 2017-18. • Export earnings for fisheries products are forecast to increase by 1 per cent in 2018-19 to $1.5 billion, after increasing by a forecast 5 per cent in 2017-18. • In 2018-19 export earnings are forecast to rise for canola (22 per cent), cotton (17 per cent), barley (12 per cent), lamb (9 per cent), wool (7 per cent), wheat (6 per cent), rock lobster (4 per cent) and live feeder/slaughter cattle (1 per cent). ◦ Forecast higher prices are a strong contributor to growth in export earnings. In Australian dollar terms, export prices of cotton (11 per cent), wheat (9 per cent), wool (4 per cent), barley (4 per cent), mutton (4 per cent), rock lobster (3 per cent), lamb (2 per cent) and cheese (1 per cent) are forecast to increase in 2018-19.

• Export earnings are forecast to decline in 2018-19 for chickpeas (54 per cent), sugar (11 per cent) and wine (2 per cent). Export earnings for beef and veal, cheese and mutton are forecast to be unchanged. ◦ The decline in export earnings for these commodities is driven by a fall in export prices. Prices for chickpeas (27 per cent), sugar (11 per cent) and wine (2 per cent) are forecast to fall due to increasing global supply and competition. Prices for beef and veal (3 per cent), live feeder/slaughter cattle (3 per cent) and canola (1 per cent) are also forecast to decline.

• In 2022-23 the value of farm exports is projected to be around $49.6 billion (in 2017-18 dollars), 8 per cent higher than the average of $46 billion over the five years to 2016-17 in real terms. ◦ The value of crop exports is projected to be $25.2 billion in 2022-23 (in 2017-18 dollars), 2.4 per cent higher than the average of $24.6 billion over the five years to 2016-17 in real terms. The value of livestock exports is projected to be $24.4 billion in 2022-23 (in 2017-18 dollars), 15 per cent higher than the average of $21 billion over the five years to 2016-17 in real terms.

Assumptions underlying this set of commodity forecasts

Forecasts of commodity production and exports are based on global and domestic demand and supply assumptions.

• On the demand side, stronger world economic growth will translate to higher per person incomes in most of Australia's export markets, supporting stronger demand. ◦ World economic growth is assumed to be 3.7 per cent in 2018 and 2019. From 2020 to 2023 economic growth is assumed to average 3.6 per cent. ◦ Economic growth in Australia is assumed to be 3 per cent in 2018-19 and over the medium term to 2022-23. ◦ The Australian dollar is assumed to average US76 cents in 2018-19, slightly lower than the forecast average of US78 cents in 2017-18. It is assumed to depreciate further to US74 cents in 2019-20 and remain at that level over the outlook period.

• On the supply side, agricultural production is assumed to be consistent with average seasonal conditions in Australia and globally. ◦ Seasonal conditions have significant implications for crop yields and livestock production cycles.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Title Agricultural commodities: March quarter 2018
Type Dataset
Language English
Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Data Status active
Update Frequency never
Landing Page https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/6388134b-cb32-4451-97c6-8e605fa80f2a
Date Published 2018-04-09
Date Updated 2018-04-09
Contact Point
Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences
02 6272 4548
dataman@agriculture.gov.au
Temporal Coverage 2013-07-01 - 2019-06-30
Geospatial Coverage Australia
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Data Portal data.gov.au
Publisher/Agency Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences
Geospatial Topics Farming