High farm input costs continue to put a dampener on profits: GrainGrowers survey

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
The high cost of farm inputs continues to be the “most prominent challenge” for Australian grain growers according to a new survey.
Camera IconThe high cost of farm inputs continues to be the “most prominent challenge” for Australian grain growers according to a new survey. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

The soaring cost and limited availability of farm inputs continue to be the biggest barriers preventing Australian grain growers from turning a profit, with the exception of bad weather.

Low commodity prices and a labour shortage are also causing major headaches according to the latest annual policy survey by GrainGrowers Limited.

Inputs posed the “most prominent challenge” to growers for the third consecutive year, followed by markets and pricing, farm labour and workforce, red tape and regulations, and agricultural chemicals.

“The results have revealed some changes, with biosecurity increasing in priority, and with other issues, such as reliable access to affordable farm inputs, continuing to remain as a concern,” GrainGrowers chief executive Shona Gawel said.

GrainGrowers Limited chief executive Shona Gawel.
Camera IconGrainGrowers Limited chief executive Shona Gawel. Credit: Brendan Read/Grain Growers Limited

“The extensive data gained on farm labour and workforce through this year’s survey is being considered in more detail, and a separate report will be prepared to highlight the issues faced by growers.”

The results provide a snapshot of grower sentiment and foundational data the organisation uses to “shape and fine-tune” its activities, to drive the sustainability and profitability of grain businesses across Australia.

Ms Gawell said priority areas — including carbon and climate, grain freight and supply chain, trade and market access, and biosecurity — would be addressed through ongoing work.

“In many instances, work is already under way, and we are committed to further improving the position of growers,” she said.

“As a grower-focused organisation we highly value the time growers take to have their say.”

This year’s survey was completed by a record 663 respondents nationwide between February and March.

Sixty-eight per cent felt more positive about the environmental state of their land, rating it as “very good” or “excellent”, and 27 per cent rating it as “good”.

While a slight drop in sentiment was recorded for financial health, 82 per cent of respondents still rated this as good, very good or excellent.

Forty-two per cent rated their wellbeing as very good or excellent, which was unchanged from last year.

“Agricultural industries are acutely aware that mental health is a continuing challenge among farming communities and is an area that requires ongoing attention,” the report said.

GGL’s policy survey is touted as the “most comprehensive” survey of grain farmers on offer.

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