Production up Australia-wide

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Australian farm production is tipped to soar to $61 billion next financial year, despite dry conditions making life tough for farmers across eastern Australia.

Strong demand for sheepmeat and wool is underpinning the forecast by the Federal Government’s agriculture forecaster, ABARES, released on Tuesday.

The Agricultural Commodities: June quarter report predicted the gross value of farm production to reach $60.5 billion in this financial year before rising 1.5 per cent next year.

Of next year’s total, $47 billion is forecast in farm exports value — strongly underpinned by high export earnings for lamb, wool, beef, veal, cheese and cotton.

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Federal Agriculture Minister Littleproud said dry autumn conditions had created a shaky start in eastern Australia but crop value should remain unchanged at $31 billion.

“Farm production is on the up, thanks to strong demand for Aussie lamb, wool and cotton across our international markets,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Wool exports are forecast to increase 9 per cent to $4.7 billion as limited growth in the world supply of fine and superfine wools lift prices.

“Lamb exports are forecast to rise by 10 per cent to $2.3 billion, while the value of beef and veal exports is forecast to increase by 2 per cent to $7.8 billion.”

While total overall Australian wheat production is expected to rise 3 per cent to 21 million tonnes in 2018-19, the area planted in WA is set to fall 3 per cent. World wheat prices are expected to rise but remain well below the 10-year average in real terms.

ABARES’ early call on national crop production was 21.9 million tonnes of wheat, 9.2 million tonnes of barley and 3.1 million tonnes of canola.

Mr Littleproud said farmers were already benefiting from free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea.

The latest prediction for 2018-19 is well above the 10 year average of $55 million.

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