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Lower commodity prices impact on farm incomes in 1996-97

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GPO Box 1563 Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone (06) 272 2000 Facsimile (06) 272 2001 International code 616

12 June 1997


Lower commodity prices impact on farm incomes in 1996-97

The 1997 Australian Farm Surveys Report released by ABARE today estimates a fall in average farm cash incomes.

‘Lower prices for major commodities resulted in the reduction of average farm cash incomes in most of the industries surveyed in 1996-97’, Acting Executive Director, Dr Stephen Beare, said today.

‘The fall in incomes is estimated to have been highest for specialist grain producers, with incomes falling sharply from the very high levels of 1995-96’, Dr Beare said.

Incomes of wool producing farms are estimated to have improved in 1996-97 from a very low base with some reduction in farm costs, largely due to removal of the wool tax, combined with increased sale of wool from grower held stocks offsetting the impact of a decline in wool production and prices. Beef, however, did not fare as well, with lower prices reducing profits in some areas.

‘Lower beef cattle prices in 1996-97 have resulted in a further decline in profitability for a significant number of beef producers. However, incomes for beef industry properties in regions in which the live cattle trade has been most prevalent are estimated to have remained largely unchanged’, Dr Beare said.

Marked differences occur in financial performance among the broadacre industries. Incomes for the mixed livestock-crops industry improved significantly due to a substantial increase in the area planted to crops and higher wool receipts offsetting lower grain prices.

The report contains summary results from a number of additional survey collections undertaken by ABARE in 1996. These include information on: new entrants to farming; landcare, training and adoption of management practices; farm families; alternatives to land ownership; management of price risk; cropping practices; and adoption of quality assurance programs by beef cattle producers.

In releasing the report, Dr Beare acknowledged the financial assistance to ABARE’s 1996 farm surveys program by the International Wool Secretariat, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Meat Research Corporation, the Dairy Research and Development Corporation and the Sugar Research and Development Corporation.

For further information, contact Peter Martin (06) 272 2363. For copies o f the Australian Farm Surveys Report 1997, contact Denise Flamia (06) 272 2211. For general media inquiries contact Sharon Palmer (06) 272 2257 or Rebecca Casey on (06) 272 2291, or after hours on (018) 487 825.

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