Record production brings huge gains to Australian agriculture in 2020-21


Australian agriculture had a bumper year in 2020-21, with the sector seeing a 17% increase in production value.

New data from the 2020-2021 campaign agricultural census released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that the gross value of Australian agriculture reached $70.9 billion ($49.18 billion) in the financial year 2020-2021.

The census, which was completed by 100,000 Australian farmers in July 2021, provided insight into the farming industry.

Agriculture Statistics ABS Program Manager Amanda Clark said the agriculture sector had a good year in 2020-21 as overall yields remained above average and many large-scale crops such as wheat, barley and canola recorded record production.

“The total value of crops in 2020-21 increased by 41% compared to the previous year, while the value of total livestock disposals fell by 6%”, said Clark.

“Many farmers said crop yields were at unique levels, with records broken in many regions for key commodities.”

Additionally, she said wheat production soared 120%, while its total value increased 99% to $9.9 billion in 2020-21.

Barley production also jumped 45%, with total value rising 24% to $3.7 billion.

By comparison, canola saw its gross value increase 114% to $2.9 billion.

Improved seasonal conditions boost irrigated crops

At the same time, the ABS report indicates that the production and value of irrigated crops have increased significantly thanks to drought-relieving rains and improved seasonal conditions.

In particular, cotton production soared to 566,000 tons in 2020-2021 from 114,700 tons the previous year, while the gross value rose from $300 million to $1.5 billion.

Vast canola fields near the small town of Harden in New South Wales, Australia, on Sept. 30, 2020. (Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Additionally, around 1.9 million hectares of farmland were irrigated across Australia, a 28% increase as more rain was recorded during the year.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the 2020-21 financial year was the coolest and wettest for Australia in four years.

Meanwhile, cattle have seen mixed results. While egg production jumped nearly a third to more than $1 billion, wool and milk production fell four percent and three percent to $2.6 billion, respectively. of dollars and 4.7 billion dollars.

Decreases in the value of livestock disposals occurred because many farmers decided to replenish their stocks with better seasonal conditions.

As a result, the cattle herd increased by 4% to reach 22.1 million head, the number of sheep increased by 7% to reach 68.1 million head and the dairy herd increased by 1% to reach 2 .4 million head during the year.

Food crisis in the world

The agriculture figures come as the World Bank warned that a food crisis is hitting many poor and developing countries.

In the last food security updatethe World Bank said that as of July 15, global agricultural commodity prices were up 19% from January 2021, with corn and wheat prices up 15% and 24%, respectively.

At the same time, high food price inflation has been observed in almost all low- and middle-income countries, with many experiencing double-digit inflation.

The international organization said that while food prices were previously at high levels, the war in Ukraine has affected global trade, production and consumption of basic commodities, pushing food prices even higher.

The World Bank has predicted that food prices will remain at historic highs throughout 2024.

Alfred Bui


Alfred Bui is an Australian journalist based in Melbourne and focuses on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and holds two master’s degrees in business law and business law. Contact him at [email protected]


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