Farmers forecast by ABARES to sell $66.3 billion of produce in 2020–21

Australian farmers are on track to record their most valuable year yet, expected to sell $66.3 billion worth of produce in 2020-21. The latest forecast by the government forecaster, ABARES, said high prices for livestock and the quick-moving export of Australia’s second-largest winter crop — barley — will lift farm gate returns up 8 per cent on the drought-riddled 2019–20.

But the shine is expected to come off next year with the forecast farm gate value to fall to $65 billion in 2021–22, reduced due to the number of farmers choosing to breed livestock rather than slaughter.

The latest outlook found that, despite labour shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, Australian consumers did not see a large price increase for fresh fruit and vegetables. It forecast fruit prices to rise by 4 per cent this year, and production to fall by 4 per cent, with vegetable prices and production to remain relatively unchanged year-on-year.The latest outlook from ABARES also reported that the impact of the devastating mouse plague in New South Wales will have a limited impact on the national crop.

ABARES spokesman Jared Greenville said favourable weather and price conditions meant the value of agricultural exports would jump to $47 billion, almost $400 million more than initially anticipated.

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