ABARES and its predecessors have been providing commodity market forecasts for Australia’s agricultural sector since the 1940s, as part of a wider suite of evidence‑based analysis and advice to policymakers and industry stakeholders. The operational context of ABARES and the industries we serve has changed a great deal over this period, and there are no signs that future changes will be slower or less profound.
This paper explores the future of public sector agricultural forecasting in the context of the past evolution of ABARES work. It identifies a range of challenges and opportunities for people involved in public sector forecasting, including the usual suspects of globalisation and global change, rapid improvements in information and communication technology, the emergence of big data (in all its forms), and new technology-enabled possibilities for interaction and co-production of knowledge.
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