Biosecurity worth up to $17,500 a year for the average farmer

10 June 2015

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) today released a new report demonstrating the real value of Australia’s world-class biosecurity system at up to $17,500 a year for the average farmer.

ABARES Executive Director Karen Schneider said that managing biosecurity was critical to maintaining the productivity of Australia’s agricultural sector by supporting business as usual operating conditions for farmers.

“Freedom from many of the world’s major pests and diseases provides agricultural industries with a significant trade advantage and is important for maintaining access to valuable export markets,” Ms Schneider said.

“This study estimates the value of Australia’s biosecurity system ‘at the farmgate’, using a case study approach.”

Just how much money the system saves farmers was analysed in The value of Australia’s biosecurity system at the farm gate: an analysis of avoided trade and on-farm impacts.

The report considers the effect on farm enterprise profits of an outbreak of six potentially significant biosecurity threats to Australian agriculture, including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Mexican feather grass, citrus greening, highly pathogenic avian influenza and Karnal bunt. 

Ms Schneider said that broadacre farms typically undertake a range of cropping and livestock activities, and farm profits may be affected by several pests and diseases.

“Without our current biosecurity system in place, the profits of broadacre farms would be $12,000 to $17,500 less because of the higher risk of FMD, Mexican feather grass and Karnal bunt outbreaks,” Ms Schneider said.

“What’s more, the Australian biosecurity system directly supports higher land values because the profits generated by broadacre farms are higher than they would have been without the system in place.

“Annual profits of pig enterprises would be 15 per cent lower because of the higher risk of an FMD incursion.

“Annual profits of beef, dairy and sheep enterprises would be 8 to 12 per cent lower, while annual profits of cropping enterprises would be 7 per cent lower because of a higher risk of a Karnal bunt incursion.

“Annual profits of chicken enterprise would be 3 per cent lower and the annual profits of egg enterprises would be 2 per cent lower because of a higher risk of highly pathogenic avian influenza.”

Ms Schneider said these figures were likely to be conservative as they were based only on top-level threats and diseases affecting farming.

The full report is available at ABARES Publications.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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