Farm financial performance — Northern Territory

​​Estimates of financial performance are available for beef farms in the Northern Territory.

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Performance of beef industry farms

Northern Territory beef industry farms have had historically high financial performance since 2014–15 due to favourable seasonal conditions, high prices for beef cattle and strong demand for live export cattle.

In 2018–19, drought conditions in the Alice Springs, Barkly Tablelands and Victoria River districts resulted in increased turn-off of beef cattle for sale and transfer of cattle to other properties by entities operating multiple and interstate properties (Table 2). Increased sale and transfer numbers resulted in average farm cash income increasing in the Northern Territory, substantially in the Barkly Tablelands and to a lesser extent in the Alice Springs districts.

Farm cash income of the Northern Territory beef industry is projected to decline to $1.1 million per farm in 2019–20, still around 8% above the average for the 10 years to 2018–19 (Table 1, Figure 1). The number of cattle transferred off properties by entities operating multiple properties is projected to decline, reducing total cash receipts despite continued high cattle prices. The number of cattle transferred in from other properties, particularly in the Barkly Tablelands (where seasonal conditions in 2019–20 have improved), is projected to increase—leading to higher average total cash costs.

Due to a decline in beef cattle numbers and the value of cattle inventories, farm business profit of the Northern Territory beef industry is projected to average around $199,000 per farm, around 70% below the average for the 10 years ending 2018–19.

Figure 1 Farm cash income, beef farms, 1999–2000 to 2019–20
average per farm
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p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
 
Table 1 Financial performance, beef farms, Northern Territory, 2017–18 to 2019–20
average per farm
Performance measure Unit 2017–18 2018–19p RSE 2019–20y
Total cash receipts $ 3,022,520 6,083,600 (16) 4,611,000
Total cash costs $ 2,022,040 3,299,100 (15) 3,502,000
Farm cash income $ 1,000,480 2,784,500 (25) 1,109,000
Farm business profit $ 1,234,950 413,700 (67) 199,000
Profit at full equity
— excluding capital appreciation $ 1,326,250 526,500 (54) 301,000
— including capital appreciation $ 1,820,670 1,424,300 (36) na
Farm capital at 30 June a $ 14,116,250 15,625,700 (8) na
Farm business debt at 30 June b $ 1,451,890 1,361,300 (23) 1,838,000
Change in debt — 1 July to 30 June b $ –51,280 104,000 (99) –19,000
Farm business equity at 30 June bc $ 12,664,360 14,264,300 (8) na
Equity ratio bd %    90 91 (2) na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b $ 243,140 247,400 (40) na
Rate of Return e
— excluding capital appreciation % 5.0 1.5 (53) 0.9
— including capital appreciation % 6.9 4.0 (37) na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b $ 19,380 16,900 (36) 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 errors expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 2 Farm cash income, beef farms, Northern Territory, by region, 2017–18 to 2019–20
average per farm

ABARES region a
Unit 2017–18 2018–19p RSE 2019–20y
Alice Springs District $ 988,300 1,130,000 (25) 696,000
Barkly Tablelands $ 2,016,500 15,484,000 (30) 3,382,000
Victoria River District - Katherine $ 970,800 954,000 (42) 903,000
Top End Darwin and the Gulf $ –173,500 –585,000 (99) 216,000

a See Farm surveys definitions and methods web page for ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey (AAGIS) zones and regions map. p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate. RSE Figures in parentheses are standard errors expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

The average financial performance of beef industry farms in the Northern Territory is heavily influenced by the performance of corporate farms with very large herds. These farms are found in all Northern Territory Regions, but predominantly in the Barkly and Victoria River–Katherine districts. These businesses dominate cattle turn-off and financial performance estimates for the Northern Territory and typically have results that are well above the average for other smaller herd size businesses in the region. Financial performance for these large farms is also highly variable from year to year.

In 2018–19, average farm cash income of beef industry farms with greater than 10,000 head of cattle doubled to average $6.1 million per farm, mainly due to increased cattle turnoff (Figure 2). Farm cash income is projected to decline by 64% in 2019–20 to average $2.2 million per farm, below the average of $2.9 million per farm recorded over the 10 years to 2018–19.

Figure 2 Farm cash income, beef farms with greater than 10,000 head of cattle, Northern Territory, 1999–2000 to 2019–20
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p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Farm cash income of beef industry farms with fewer than 10,000 head of cattle tripled to average $658,900 per farm in 2018–19 as a result of increased cattle turnoff (Figure 3). Farm cash income is projected to decline by 44% in 2019–20 to average $368,000 per farm, still well above the 10-year average to 2018–19 of $201,500 per farm.

Figure 3 Farm cash income, beef farms with fewer than 10,000 head of cattle, Northern Territory, 1999–2000 to 2019–20
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p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries 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: 7 May 2020
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