Australia’s agriculture sector is expected to produce $80.4 billion ($57.9 billion) of produce in the 2022-23 financial year, the second-highest amount on record.
The forecast comes even as growers grapple with labor shortages and skyrocketing production costs, with global fertilizer prices hitting the highest levels since 2008.
Jared Greenville, executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES), said the next financial year would be a remarkable one for the sector.
“We are seeing record production values and export values in our winter crop lineup, including wheat, barley and canola,” Greenville said in comments obtained by AAP.
“But we are also seeing strong growth in the horticulture sector, which is also expected to reach record value.”
According ABARES quarterly outlook published by the Ministry of Agriculture, food prices have risen significantly due to poor prospects for global food production, the Russian-Ukrainian war and trade restrictions.
However, the gross value of agricultural production for 2022-23 is expected to be below last year’s high of $83.1 billion, with exports expected to reach a record $65 billion.
At the same time, grain farmers are expected to harvest their fourth largest and second most valuable winter harvest as world grain prices rise.
The report also found that although adverse weather conditions and flooding caused damage to some crops, they did not have a significant impact on national production levels.
Additionally, the outlook calls for horticulture to provide $13.5 billion in produce, while wheat and canola production will reach $12.7 billion and $5.1 billion, respectively.
At the same time, animal production is expected to rise 1.2% to $35 billion in the next fiscal year.
The report predicts livestock prices will ease as production increases, with the value of exports falling slightly to $25.1 billion.
In particular, the value of beef production is expected to fall 1.4% to $15.6 billion and sheep meat production to fall 8% to $4.3 billion.
Additionally, the report predicts Australia‘s cattle herd will increase by 6% to 24.2 million head, while total sheep numbers will hover around 69 million.
It should be noted that global food prices currently remain at their highest levels in a decade and are not expected to decline for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.
In May, the World Bank said that world food prices have risen for two years and hit an all-time high in March and April 2022. Prices climbed 15% over the period and were 80% higher than two years ago.