Expand links In this section

Farm financial performance - South Australia

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in South Australia.

[expand all]

Average broadacre farm cash income increased to $239,500 per farm in 2016–17 (Table 1) as a result of record grain yields and higher prices for beef cattle, sheep, lamb and wool. This was the highest farm cash income recorded for South Australia in the 20 years since 1997–98. In 2016–17 higher receipts from lentils also contributed to higher average farm cash income for farms in the Murray lands and Yorke Peninsula region (Table 2).

In 2017–18 broadacre farm cash income is estimated to have decreased to average $199,000 per farm (Figure 1) as a result of lower crop receipts due to less favourable seasonal conditions. This is still around 13 per cent above the 10-year average to 2016–17.

Figure 1 Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, 199798 to 201718
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for broadacre industry farms in Australia and South Australia from 2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 1 Financial performance, all broadacre industries, South Australia, 2015–16 to 2017–18, average per farm
MeasureUnit2015–162016–17pRSE2017–18y
Total cash receipts$486,750618,000(8)577,000
Total cash costs$304,370378,500(8)378,000
Farm cash income$182,380239,500(10)199,000
Farms with negative farm cash income%  8  3(41)  19
Farm business profit $55,280152,900(14)88,000
Profit at full equity
    - excluding capital appreciation$89,300187,400(12)124,000
    - including capital appreciation$336,740285,200(13)na
Farm capital at 30 June a$4,354,2704,878,400(8)na
Net capital additions$41,780119,700(35)na
Farm debt at 30 June b$436,770445,200(14)476,000
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b%26(84)–1
Equity at 30 June bc$3,776,7703,920,400(9)na
Equity ratio bd%  90  90(1)na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b$258,510271,200(15)na
Farm management deposits (FMDs) at 30 June b$139,500124,100(20)na
Share of farms with FMDs at 30 June b%  41  43(14)na
Rate of return e
    - excluding capital appreciation%2.24.0(9)2.5
    - including capital appreciation%8.36.1(12)na
Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse b$28,28031,300(12)na

a Excludes leased plant and equipment. b Excludes capital appreciation. c Farm capital minus farm debt. d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital. e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July. p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate. RSE Figures in parentheses are standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 2 Farm cash income of broadacre farms, by region, South Australia, 2016–17 to 2017–18
ABARES regionUnitFive years ending 2015–162016–17pRSE2017–18y
411: SA North Pastoral$221,910271,200(30)395,000
421: SA Eyre Peninsula$266,110267,600(17)174,000
422: SA Murray Lands and Yorke Peninsula$227,560289,600(16)171,000
431: SA South East$128,440171,100(17)219,000

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

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

Average farm cash incomes of beef industry farms decreased slightly to $69,700 per farm in 2016–17. Higher prices for beef cattle were more than offset by increased expenditure on purchases of beef cattle, repairs and maintenance and hired labour.

In 2017–18 farm cash income of beef industry farms is estimated to have increased to average $83,000 per farm (Figure 2). Reductions in beef cattle purchases are estimated to have more than offset lower beef cattle receipts due to lower prices. Average farm cash income is around 2 per cent above the 10–year average to 2016–17 of $81,000 per farm.

Figure 2 Real farm cash income, beef industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for beef industry farms in Australia and South Australia from 2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. Farm cash income of South Australian beef farms fell sharply in 2013–14 and has been increasing since then. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

In 2016–17 farm cash income of sheep industry farms increased by 33 per cent to average $172,500 per farm (Figure 3). This increase was due to higher prices for lamb, sheep and wool, together with increased wool production.

In 2017–18 farm cash income for South Australian sheep industry farms is estimated to have increased further to average $264,000 per farm as a result of higher wool, lamb and sheep prices. Farm cash income is estimated to have been the highest in 20-years and around 115 per cent above the 10-year average to 2016–17.

Figure 3 Real farm cash income, sheep industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for sheep industry farms in Australia and South Australia from   2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Farm cash income of South Australian grains farms increased in 2016–17 to an average of $318,700 per farm. This was the result of record winter crop production and despite lower prices for grains.

Total farm cash receipts for South Australian grain farms are estimated to have decreased by 18 per cent in 2017–18 as a result of reductions in crop production due to less favourable seasonal conditions. Average total cash costs are estimated to have decreased by around 6 per cent as a result of harvesting and handling a much smaller winter crop in 2017–18. Average farm cash income in is estimated to have decreased to $195,000 per farm in 2017–18 (Figure 4). This is around 13 per cent below the 10-year average to 2016–17.

Figure 4 Real farm cash income, grains industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for grains industry farms in Australia and South Australia from   2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs..
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Average farm cash income of South Australian dairy farms decreased to $131,000 per farm in 2016–17 (Figure 5). This was a result of lower milk prices and reduced milk production per farm. Reductions in total cash receipts were partially offset by lower average cash costs as a result of reduced expenditure on fodder due mainly to lower feed grain prices.

In 2017–18 farm cash income is estimated to have increased to average of $221,000 per farm, around 23 per cent above the 10-year average to 2016–17 as a result of increased milk prices and increased milk production.

Figure 5 Real farm cash income, dairy industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for dairy industry farms in Australia and South Australia from   2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous two paragraphs.

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 3 Financial performance, South Australia dairy industry 2015–16 to 2017–18 average per farm
MeasureUnit2015–162016–17pRSE2017–18y
Total cash receipts$903,490858,000(7)1,022,000
Total cash costs$771,780727,000(7)801,000
Farm cash income$131,710131,000(26)221,000
Farms with negative farm cash income%  37  28(38)  22
Farm business profit $18,47015,400(221)96,000

Profit at full equity

    - excluding capital appreciation$94,90091,400(38)170,000
    - including capital appreciation$131,740404,500(26)na
Farm capital at 1 July a$4,790,4405,551,400(5)na
Net capital additions$168,45019,700(119)na
Farm debt at 30 June b$1,107,6901,026,400(23)1,003,000
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b%0.03.0(61)4.0
Equity at 30 June bc$3,611,9604,177,500(8)na
Equity ratio bd%  77  80(6)na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b$116,200118,200(36)na
Farm management deposits (FMDs) at 30 June b$49,90062,300(46)na
Share of farms with FMDs at 30 June b%  24  26(41)na
Rate of return e
    - excluding capital appreciation%2.11.8(39)3.1
    - including capital appreciation%2.97.8(28)na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b$21,60018,600(21)na

a Excludes leased plant and equipment. b Excludes capital appreciation. c Farm capital minus farm debt. d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital. e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July. p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate. RSE Figures in parentheses are standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey

In 2016–17 South Australia had an estimated 277 vegetable-growing farms, accounting for 11 per cent of Australian vegetable-growing farms. Most farms were in the Mallee, the Riverland and the Adelaide Plains. The average area of South Australian vegetable-growing farms was around 217 hectares, with 25 hectares planted to vegetables. Vegetable production accounted for 8 per cent of the gross value of agricultural production in South Australia (ABS 2018).

In 2016–17 average farm cash income for South Australian vegetable-growing farms declined by an estimated 12 per cent to around $277,900 per farm (Table 4). Total vegetable production per farm fell as a result of a decrease in the average area planted to vegetables. Reduced vegetable production and lower vegetable prices led to a decline in average total vegetable receipts. The fall in total vegetable receipts was largely a result of reduced receipts from potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Average total cash costs decreased by 18 per cent to around $763,100 per farm, partially offsetting the effect of reduced receipts. Decreases in total cash costs in 2016–17 were largely driven by the cost of contracts paid, hired labour, fuel, oil and grease, seed, and freight costs.

Average farm cash income is estimated to have increased in 2017–18 by around 23 per cent to $342,000 per farm. Vegetable production is projected to have risen because of increases in the area planted to vegetables and higher yields for most vegetables. Average total cash costs are also estimated to have increased by around 3 per cent as a result of increases in all cost categories reflecting the estimated increases in area planted.

Table 4 Selected physical and financial results, vegetable-growing farms, South Australia, 2015–16 and 2016–17
average per farm
Indicator 2016–17pRSE% change from 2015–162017–18y% change from 2016–17
Vegetable cash receipts ($)771,100(28)–32928,00020
Area planted to vegetables (ha)25(8)–273127
Quantity of vegetables produced (t)1,178(11)–281,59435
Farm cash income ($)277,900(20)–12342,00023

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Note: Figures in parentheses are standard errors expressed as a percentage of the estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian vegetable-growing farms survey

Figure 6 Real farm cash income, vegetable industry, 2006–07 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows Farm cash income, vegetable-growing farms, 2006–07 to 2016–17 average per farm  .

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian vegetable-growing farms survey

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.

Farm surveys definitions and methods
Further information about our survey definitions and methods.

Last reviewed:
06 Dec 2018