Farm financial performance — Northern Territory

​​​​Estimates of financial performance are available for beef farms in the Northern Territory.

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Many farm businesses in the upper Northern Territory derive a large share of their total cash receipts from selling cattle for live export, particularly to Indonesia. Numbers of cattle sold for live export declined between 2009–10 and 2012–13, before rebounding strongly in 2013–14 and 2014–15. As a result of the expansion of the live export trade in 2013–14 and 2014–15, cattle for this market are now also being sourced from a much expanded area of northern Australia.

In 2014–15 farm cash income more than doubled to average $767,600 a farm as a result of a 19 per cent increase in average cattle prices received and a large increase in cattle turn-off. Overall, total cash receipts are estimated to have increased by around 35 per cent. Increase in total cash receipts was partly offset by an increase in total farm cash costs – mainly as a result of increased transfer of cattle on to Northern Territory properties by farm businesses with properties interstate. Despite these transfers, the overall herd size is estimated to have been reduced.

In 2015–16 total farm cash receipts are expected to have increased further, mainly as a result of further increase in average prices received per head sold and continued high cattle turn-off. Average total cash costs are projected to have increased, partly offsetting higher farm receipts – with higher expenditure on fodder and hired labour and beef cattle purchases. High cattle turn-off is projected to have resulted in a further reduction in herd size.

Overall, Northern Territory farm cash incomes are projected to have increased to average $1.2 million a farm in 2015–16, almost three times the 10–year average to 2014–15 of $407,000 a farm.

Real farm cash income, beef industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Shows real farm cash income, beef industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs. 

Note: y Provisional estimate.

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

The average financial performance of beef industry farms in the Northern Territory is heavily influenced by the performance of very large herd size businesses, mostly corporate farms. These farms are found in all Northern Territory Regions, but predominantly in the Barkly and Victoria River—Katherine districts. These businesses dominate cattle turn-off and financial performance estimates for the Northern Territory and typically have financial performance that is well above the average for other smaller herd size businesses in the region.

Farm cash income of businesses with greater than 10,000 head of cattle averaged $1.4 million over the 10 years ending 2014–15.

Real farm cash income, beef industry farms with greater than 10,000 head of cattle, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Shows real farm cash income, beef industry farms with greater than 10,000 head of cattle, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs. 

Note: y Provisional estimate.

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

In contrast, farm cash income of businesses with less than 10,000 head of beef cattle averaged just $70,000 per farm over the same period with substantial variability between years.

Real farm cash income, beef industry farms with less than 10,000 head of cattle, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Shows real farm cash income, beef industry farms with less than 10,000 head of cattle, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs. 

Note: y Provisional estimate.

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Financial performance, Northern Territory broadacre industries 2013–14 to 2015–16, average per farm

Performance indicator

2013–14

2014–15 p

RSE

2015–16 y

Total cash receipts ($)

1,610,570

2,199,400

(13)

2,720,000

Total cash costs ($)

1,252,700

1,431,800

(11)

1,482,000

Farm cash income ($)

357,870

767,600

(20)

1,238,000

Farms with negative farm cash income (%)

51

19

(32)

4

Farm business profit ($)

463,190

472,100

(38)

956,000

Profit at full equity a ($)

541,590

589,100

(29)

1,078,000

Farm capital at 30 June b ($)

18,950,860

19,553,300

(10)

na

Farm debt at 30 June c ($)

1,249,020

1,391,900

(22)

na

Equity ratio c d (%)

84

85

(3)

na

Rate of return a e (%)

2.9

3.1

(24)

5.8

Off-farm income f ($)

64,800

64,600

(45)

na

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate
a Excludes capital appreciation
b Excludes leased plant and equipment
c Average per responding farm
d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital
e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July
f Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse
na Not available

The average farm cash income of beef industry farms in 2014–15 and 2015–16 varies across regions, partly as a consequence of the differences in average herd size within the regions. Farm cash income in the Barkly region which is dominated by large herd size farms is estimated to have averaged $2.9 million a farm in 2014–15 and is projected increase to $4.7 million in 2015–16. Farm cash income is projected to have increased in all Northern Territory regions in 2015–16, with the largest percentage increases in the Victoria River District–Katherine and the Top End.

Farm cash income of Northern Territory broadacre farms, by region, 2014–15 to 2015–16, average per farm

Region

2014–15 p

RSE

2015–16 y

$

$

711: Alice Springs District

414,000

(27)

614,000

712: Barkly Tablelands

2,897,000

(30)

4,718,000

713: Victoria River District – Katherine

402,000

(37)

705,000

714: Top End Darwin and the Gulf

199,000

(72)

342,000

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate

Shows the ABARES high rainfall zone (eastern seaboard, South Australian south-east coast and south-west coast of Western Australia); wheat–sheep zone (south-east Queensland excluding the coast; central New South Wales, including the North West Slopes and Plains, Central West and Riverina, northern Victoria, South Australian Eyre Peninsula, Murraylands and Yorke Peninsula and Western Australian wheat belt ); and pastoral zone (Northern Territory, northern and central Western Australia, northern and central South Australia, western New South Wales, and northern and western Queensland). The map also shows the ABARES regions within these zones.
Note: Each region is identified by a unique code of three digits. The first digit identifies the state or territory, the second digit identifies the zone and the third digit identifies the region. Source: ABARES

Major financial performance indicators

  • Total cash receipts: total revenues received by the business during the financial year.
  • Total cash costs: payments made by the business for materials and services and for permanent and casual hired labour (excluding owner manager, partner and family labour).
  • Farm cash income: total cash receipts - total cash costs
  • Farm business profit: farm cash income + changes in trading stocks - depreciation - imputed labour costs
  • Profit at full equity: return produced by all the resources used in the business, farm business profit + rent + interest + finance lease payments - depreciation on leased items
  • Rate of return: return to all capital used, profit at full equity * 100 / total opening capital
  • Equity ratio: Farm capital minus farm debt expressed as a percentage of farm capital

Industry types

  • Grains: farms mainly engaged in producing broadacre crops such as wheat, coarse grains, oilseeds and pulses, and including farms running sheep and/or beef cattle in conjunction with substantial broadacre crop activity.
  • Sheep: farms mainly engaged in running sheep.
  • Beef: farms mainly engaged in running beef cattle.
  • Dairy: farms mainly engaged in milk production.
  • Vegetable: farms mainly engaged in growing vegetables.
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Last reviewed:
27 Feb 2017