Farm incomes increase strongly for beef producers

6 August 2015

Farm cash income of Australian beef cattle producing farms has increased strongly in 2014‒15 as a result of increased cattle prices and the highest beef cattle turn-off in 36 years.

ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider, said high cattle turn-off, which started in mid-2013, continued in major beef cattle producing regions in eastern Australia as a result of dry seasonal conditions.

“In northern Australia, farm cash income for beef cattle producers is estimated to have increased from an average of $74,700 a farm in 2013‒14 to an average of $148,000 a farm in 2014‒15, this is around 50 per cent above the average for the previous 10 years,” Ms Schneider said.

“While in southern Australia, farm cash income of those farms mainly reliant on beef cattle production, is estimated to have increased from an average of $38,100 a farm in 2013–14 to $64,000 a farm in 2014‒15, around 35 per cent above the 10 year average.”

Ms Schneider said part of the increase in farm cash incomes had been achieved through reduced cattle herds as cattle turn-off increased in response to dry seasonal conditions and higher cattle prices.

“Depreciation of the Australian dollar and strong export demand for Australian beef and live cattle resulted in a 24 per cent increase in beef cattle prices and further encouraged turn-off,” Ms Schneider said.

“Higher cattle prices are also estimated to have resulted in an increase in farm cash income for drought-affected farms. Drought conditions affected an estimated 30 per cent of Australian beef cattle producing farms in 2014‒15, particularly farms in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

“Most of these farms were also affected by drought in 2013-14 and farm cash incomes vary substantially across farms depending on their specific circumstances. In 2014-15 around 22 per cent of farms affected by drought recorded negative farm cash incomes.

“In the northern live cattle export region increases in cattle sold for live export and higher cattle prices resulted in farm cash income increasing from an average of $143,000 a farm in 2013–14 to $277,000 a farm in 2014–15.”

The results were released today in Australian beef: Financial performance of beef cattle producing farms 2012–13 to 2014–15.

Commissioned by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the report presents detailed regional financial performance and production information for Australian beef cattle producing farms.

The full report is available online at ABARES Publications

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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