Research topics


​​​​Our research comprehensively covers the agriculture and water resource portfolio – reports, information and data is grouped within the following research areas and the ‘About my region’ sub-site.

Research topics

Latest research

Fisheries Status Reports for 2020 now public

The 2020 Fisheries Status Reports show that no stocks have been classified as subject to overfishing in fisheries solely managed by the Australian Government.

Published: 9 October 2020.



Detailed industry farm performance, 2017-18 to 2019-20

These reports examine changes over time in farm financial performance of beef, grain, lamb and dairy farms in Australia, based on recent ABARES farm surveys.

Published: 22 September 2020.



Labour use in Australian agriculture

Results from ABARES labour surveys for 2018–19 are presented in this publication using a data visualisation product. Users can select from a range of state and industry options to observe trends in labour use during 2018–19.

Published: 17 September 2020.


Agriculture’s crop-led recovery on track despite COVID-19

The value of Australian agricultural production is forecast to hold steady, but the continuing COVID-19 pandemic is causing world agricultural prices to fall, reducing export returns sharply in 2020-21, according to the September Agricultural Commodities report.

Published: 15 September 2020.


Free trade, competitiveness and a global world: How trade agreements are shaping agriculture

This ABARES Insights series release explores how Australia's agricultural export performance over the past 15 years has been inextricably linked to the proliferation of free trade agreements (FTAs).

Published: 11 September 2020.


NSW leads expected winter crop bounce back

ABARES’ September Australian Crop Report has found that winter crop prospects in Australia are generally average to above average at the beginning of spring.

Published: 8 September 2020.


Analysis of water recovery in the Murray-Darling Basin released

This article provides an overview of the economic effects of water recovery on water prices and the irrigation sector in the southern Murray–Darling Basin (MDB).

Published: 1 September 2020.


New edition of Australia’s Agricultural Industries map now available

This map shows where Australia's broad agricultural land uses are located. The map reports on the top 5 livestock, crop and horticulture commodities based on gross value of production.

Published: 25 August 2020.


A framework for developing medium term projections of traded wood products

Forest and Wood Products Australia commissioned ABARES to develop a quantitative framework for projecting future exports and imports of selected wood.

Published: 4 August 2020.


Water allocation prices likely to fall across the southern Murray-Darling Basin

The July Water Markets Outlook indicates that water allocation prices in the southern Murray-Darling are likely to fall in 2020–21.

Published: 30 July 2020.


Productivity and efficiency of the Australian sawmilling industry

This study, commissioned by Forest and Wood Products Australia, is the first comprehensive productivity and efficiency analysis of the Australian sawmilling industry at the mill level.

Published: 10 July 2020.


Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2019

This report shows that Australia’s forest harvesting sector showed strong signs in 2018−19, while wood processing output and housing activity remained weaker.

Published: 2 July 2020.


Bushfires and pandemic spell tough road ahead for forestry and wood processing sectors

Major challenges for forestry and wood processors loom in the wake of summer’s bushfires and COVID-19, according to analysis in our latest ABARES Insights report.

Published: 30 June 2020.


Understanding how China's tariff on Australian barley exports will affect the agricultural sector

This short report describes the results of ABARES' modelling of the potential impact of China's barley tariff on Australian barley exports and the agricultural sector by 2025.

Published 26 June 2020.


Understanding general surveillance for biosecurity as a system

This report explores general surveillance in Australia’s biosecurity system from a broad perspective, compiling lessons learned from recent literature to capture key considerations for the different components of general surveillance and the dynamics between them.

Published: 25 June 2020.



Australian plantation statistics 2020 update

This update presents information on Australia’s commercial timber plantations, reporting on total plantation area, new plantings and ownership. These statistics support policy development and forest industry planning and decision-making.

Published: 23 June 2020.



Australia’s forests and forestry glossary now available

This glossary is a comprehensive and authoritative reference for the interpretation and use of forest and forestry terms at the national level in Australia.

Published: 19 June 2020.



Agriculture outlook dominated by recovery from drought

While the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to present challenges, the outlook for agriculture will be dominated by recovery from drought, according to the June Agriculture Commodities report.

Published 16 June 2020.


Australian rice markets in 2020

ABARES forecasts a rebound in rice production in 2020-21 due to improved water availability. Global rice supplies are abundant and COVID-19 trade restrictions have been repealed.

Published 16 June 2020.


Winter crop production forecast to jump 53 per cent

The ABARES Australian crop report - June 2020 is forecasting a 53 per cent increase in winter crop production in 2020-21, with a 23 per cent jump in the area planted.

Published 10 June 2020.


Analysis of Australian agricultural trade and the COVID-19 pandemic

This report says Australia’s agricultural trade has generally unhindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. But for some sectors, such as food service and those reliant on air freight, there were some significant disruptions.

Published 5 June 2020.


National survey of recreational fishing for Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia 2018‑19

The survey described in this report is the first comprehensive assessment of the recreational harvest of Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia. The methodology was developed by ABARES and the University of Tasmania.

Published 28 May 2020.


Analysis of government support to Australian agricultural producers

This report analyses government support for Australia’s farmers and has found that our agricultural producers are among the least subsidised in the world.

Published 29 May 2020.


Where and how often fire occurred in Australia’s forest between 2011 and 2016

The latest ABARES Insights, ‘Stocktake of Fire in Australia’s forests, 2011 to 2016,’ covers where and how often fire occurred, what land and forest types were burnt, and whether fire was planned or unplanned.

Published 27 May 2020.


Allocating fish stocks between commercial and recreational fishers — Examples from Australia and overseas

This report is a literature review of methods used for resource sharing of fish stocks between commercial and recreational fishers in Australia and around the world.

Published 26 May 2020.


Simulating effects of agricultural support policies under price volatility – a China case study

This conference paper, released at the Global Trade Analysis Project conference, discusses the results of modelling on China’s policy settings for food security.

Published 30 April 2020.


Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Series 2018 now released

The Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics 2018 report contains historical data on Australian consumption, production and trade of fisheries and aquaculture products.

Published: 30 April 2020.


Impact of COVID-19 on Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries trade

This report explores how the COVID-19 pandemic is most likely to disrupt trade through supply chain and logistics disruption that could limit access to imported inputs or limit product reaching final markets.

Published 23 April 2020.


Australian food security and the COVID-19 pandemic

The latest ABARES Insights says Australia does not have a food security problem, with Australia exporting about 70% of agricultural production and importing only about 10% of our food.

Published 17 April 2020.


ABARES Insights: Analysis of opportunities in India

India’s future food needs an opportunity for Australian agriculture.

This ABARES Insights report provides analysis and modelling results of projected agricultural and food demand in India. This growth will bring opportunities for Australia's exporters.

Published 3 April 2020.


Water market outlook – March 2020

This March Water Market Outlook provides ABARES initial outlook for water allocation prices in the southern Murray-Darling Basin (sMDB) for 2020-21 for indicative climate scenarios (extreme dry, dry, average and wet). This outlook uses forecasts provided by state water agencies for allocations, and seasonal conditions from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). A brief summary of market conditions prevailing in 2019–20 is also provided.

Published: 27 March 2020.


MDB water market dataset

The MDB water market dataset is a new product that provides information on water availability, market outcomes, irrigation activity, climatic conditions and commodity prices for a consistent set of catchment regions in the Murray-Darling Basin. This dataset is useful for understanding changes that have occurred in the sMDB irrigation sector over time, and underpins the ABARES water trade model.

Published: 27 March 2020.


Future scenarios for the southern Murray-Darling Basin: Report to the Independent Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions in the Basin

This report presents recent economic modelling undertaken by ABARES to support the Independent Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions in the Basin. It presents a series of forward looking scenarios for the southern Murray-Darling Basin water market.

Published: 16 March 2020.


Agricultural Commodities report says farm production value holds despite bushfires and drought

The value of Australian agricultural production is forecast to remain high despite bushfires and prolonged drought, with overseas demand balancing drought-related falls in farm output and incomes.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Australian fisheries and aquaculture outlook 2020

This forecast contains projections of the value of Australian fisheries and aquaculture production and exports to 2024–25. Coronavirus is expected to have a significant short-term seafood export impact.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Farm performance: broadacre and dairy farms, 2017–18 to 2019–20

This report examines changes over time in average farm incomes among broadacre and dairy farms in Australia, based on recent ABARES farm surveys.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Productivity in Australia's broadacre and dairy industries, 20203

This report provides an annual update to ABARES productivity estimates for Australia’s broadacre and dairy industries, through to 2018–19.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Disaggregating farm performance statistics by size, 2018–19

This report provides an annual update to ABARES farm performance by size statistics, showing industry level farm performance is increasingly driven by the performance of the largest farms.

Published: 3 March 2020.


ABARES Insights: Snapshot of Australian Agriculture March 2020

This Insights briefing describes the current state of Australian agriculture, with the aim of providing an accessible overview of the industry, key issues and descriptive statistics.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Market access improvements: a case study of stone fruit exports to China

This case study on Australian stone fruit illustrates the case of a commodity that was able to respond to the market access opportunity swiftly.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Farmers' terms of trade: Update to farm costs and prices paid

This paper reports on the results of an update to the way ABARES calculates the farmers' terms of trade indicators, including the price indexes for farm outputs and inputs to production.

Published: 3 March 2020.


Murray-Darling Basin water markets: trends and drivers 2002-03 to 2018-19

This report identifies the main changes in water markets in the Murray-Darling Basin over the past 15 to 20 years and explains the main factors driving these changes.

Published: 19 February 2020.


Crop production hit by unfavourable seasonal conditions

The Australian crop report – February 2020 edition says production prospects for summer crops in Queensland and northern New South Wales remain well below average.

Published: 18 February 2020.


Quantification of non-tariff measures as tariff equivalents on a commodity level

This conference paper describes the challenges of quantifying non-tariff measures as ‘ad valorem’ tariff equivalents at the commodity level.

Published: 13 February 2020.


Benefits of increased access to minor use chemicals

This report estimates the benefits to industry from grants to rural research and development corporations to improve farmers’ access to minor use chemicals for pest control.

Published: 11 February 2020.


New insights on the effects of drought and climate variability on Australian farms

Our latest Insights report provides analysis on the effects of climate variability on Australian farms. It examines both short-term climate risks such as drought and longer-term shifts in climate conditions.

Published: 18 December 2019.


Annual compendium of historical statistics for 2019 now available

The Agricultural commodity statistics report provides a set of comprehensive statistical tables on Australian and world prices, production, consumption, stocks and trade for 19 rural commodities.

Published: 17 December 2019.


Using hedonic modelling to analyse farmland price movements

The Measuring Australian broadacre farmland value: Phase 1 - Statistical infrastructure report contains preliminary findings on the construction of hedonic models to estimate values of Australian farmland.

Published: 13 December 2019.


Impact of drought becoming more pronounced

The effects of the continuing drought are becoming more pronounced with falling production and high input costs presenting serious challenges, according to the latest Agricultural Commodities report.

Published: 10 December 2019.


Winter crop production forecast to fall below 30m tonnes

Winter crop production is forecast to fall by 3 per cent in 2019–20 to 29.4 million tonnes, down 13 per cent from the production forecast in September, according to the December 2019 Crop Report.

Published: 3 December 2019.


Australia’s forestry sector strong in export markets

Australian forest and wood products statistics, March and June quarters 2019 reported the fifth consecutive year of growth for the forestry sector, with higher export demand offsetting weaker domestic demand.

Published: 26 November 2019.


Latest estimates for Australian vegetable-growing farms income largely unchanged

The Australian vegetable-growing farms: an economic survey 2017–18 and 2018–19 report analyses farm-level production and the financial situation of vegetable growers.

Published: 21 November 2019.


Exploring how public sector grain stock forecasts can help reduce market uncertainty

This reports says that public reporting of national grain stocks in years of drought can help grain consuming businesses work out whether and when to invest in the cost of importing.

Published: 20 November 2019.


Forest industry’s key contribution to Australia’s economy detailed in new ABARES Insight

This Insights snapshot looks at the key aspects of Australia’s forest and sawmilling industries: forest area, log harvest, production, consumption, trade and industry structure.

Published: 18 November 2019.


Family, locals and backpackers fill farmers’ labour needs

The Demand for farm workers: ABARES farm survey results 2018 report says locals were the most commonly employed workers on farms with backpackers the most common form of overseas workers.

Published: 2 October 2019.


Profiles of our forests now available

Australian forest profiles 2019 is an updated series comprising the seven main native forest types, and commercial plantations.

Published: 2 October 2019.



Fishery status reports 2019 released

This ABARES Insights Snapshot examines how global value chains have created new opportunities for Australian agriculture and how they are important for further opening of import markets.

Published: 27 September 2019.


New insights into Australia’s place in global agriculture and food value chains

This ABARES Insights Snapshot examines how global value chains have created new opportunities for Australian agriculture and how they are important for further opening of import markets.

Published: 19 September 2019.


Opportunities and challenges in uncertain times

The value of farm production is forecast to fall by 5 per cent in 2019–20 to $59 billion, according to the Agricultural Commodities September 2019 report.

Published: 17 September 2019.



Varied conditions and modest prospects for winter crops

The September 2019 Crop Report reveals mixed prospects for Australia’s winter crop, with production forecast to rise by 11% in 2019–20 but short of the 10-year average to 2018-19 by 16 per cent.

Published: 10 September 2019.


Comparing United States and Australia's agriculture sectors

This Insights report compares the Australian and US agricultural sectors, briefly profiles US agricultural policy, and highlights Australia's exposure to shifts in global markets from the US-China trde war.

Published: 6 September 2019.


Development of a national tenure dataset for reporting the tenure of Australia's forests

This technical report describes the approach used for assembling the Tenure of Australia's forests (2018) dataset and reporting in Australia's State of the Forests Report 2018.

Published: 27 August 2019.


Joint ABARES-CSIRO Report identifies key players in marine pest stakeholder network

The study, using social network analysis, shows that involvement and interest in marine pest biosecurity is extensive and complex.

Published: 20 August 2019.


Farm capital and investment, and physical characteristics reports now available

Estimates of farm capital, farm investment and physical characteristics for beef farms, grain farms, lamb producing farms and dairy farms from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

Published: 12 August 2019.



High water allocation prices likely to continue in the southern Murray-Darling

Water allocation prices in the southern Murray-Darling Basin are likely to remain high in 2019–20, according to the Water Market Outlook – August 2019 report.

Published: 1 August 2019.



Value of commercial plantation harvests at record high

Conditions in Australia’s forestry sector remain favourable, according to the Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2018 report.

Published: 20 June 2019.


Farm debt and equity, and cost of production analysis now available

Estimates of the debt, equity, and debt-servicing capacity for beef farms, grain farms, lamb-producing farms and dairy farms, and cost of production estimates for beef cattle and sheep producers.

Published: 20 June 2019.


Exports to fall as herd and flock rebuild commences

In 2019–20 agricultural export earnings are forecast to fall by 5% to $45 billion, according to the latest Agricultural Commodities report released today.

Published: 18 June 2019.



Up-to-date survey data from Australian wood processors

The results from the ABARES National Wood Processing Survey: 2016-17 report provide consistent and reliable estimates of the production of hardwood and softwood wood products.

Published: 13 June 2019.


Performance and accuracy of ABARES agricultural forecasts analysed

The Summary of ABARES agricultural forecasting paper analyses the performance and accuracy of ABARES agricultural forecasts between 2000–01 and 2017–18.

Published: 13 June 2019.



A mixed start for Australia’s winter crop season

The Australian crop report’s June 2019 edition reflects mixed conditions across the country and the lower than average performance of the 2018-19 winter crop.

Published: 12 June 2019.



Agricultural export price and volume indicators

Australia’s agricultural sector is highly export oriented. This paper outlines the recent development of aggregate price and volume indicators for Australian agricultural exports.

Published: 13 May 2019.


Australian plantation statistics 2019 update

This report supports strategic forest industry planning and decision-making by presenting information on total plantation area, new planting and ownership.

Published: 3 May 2019.



Focusing on Austra​lian water markets

This ABARES Insights snapshot describes the why, who, where and how of Australian water market activity and how markets help facilitate short and longer term adjustment.

Published: 18 April 2019.


Treated ballast water and its impact on port water quality

This report explores the potential impact that the discharge of chemically treated ballast water could have on the water quality of Australian ports.

Published: 18 April 2019.

Last reviewed: 21 October 2020
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