Farm financial performance – Queensland

​​​​​Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in Queensland.

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Financial performance of Queensland broadacre farms declined moderately in 2017–18 relative to 2016–17 (Figure 1), when farm incomes were historically high due to record winter crop production and very high prices for beef cattle. The average farm cash income for broadacre farms across Queensland was $217,600 in 2016–17, falling to $179,000 per farm in 2017–18 — still well above the longer-term average of $130,000 (Table 1).

In 2018–19 the financial performance of broadacre farms in Queensland is expected to decline further due to lower prices for beef cattle and ongoing drought conditions in the south of the state that are estimated to have reduced winter crop production in Queensland by 38 per cent in 2018–19.

Average farm incomes in the Darling Downs and Central Highlands and Charleville–Longreach regions are expected to be much lower in 2018–19 compared with the previous year, and considerably lower than 2016–17 (Table 2).

In contrast, the northern and north-western regions of Queensland that predominantly graze beef cattle are expected to achieve average farm incomes in 2018–19 similar to or slightly higher than the previous year.

Figure 1 Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, 1998–99 to 2018–19
average per farm
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
Table 1 Financial performance, all broadacre industries, Queensland, 2016–17 to 2018–19
average per farm
  Unit 2016–17 2017–18p RSE 2018–19y
Total cash receipts $ 571,760 552,200 (5) 499,000
Total cash costs $ 355,520 373,100 (6) 357,000
Farm cash income $ 216,240 179,100 (8) 142,000
Farms with negative farm cash income %   13   31 (11)   33
Farm business profit $ 121,470 55,400 (23) –1,000
Profit at full equity          
    - excluding capital appreciation $ 161,640 96,900 (14) 44,000
    - including capital appreciation $ 388,710 226,700 (18) na
Farm capital at 30 June a $ 6,001,500 6,533,500 (5) na
Farm debt at 30 June b $ 653,520 701,300 (12) na
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b % 6 7 (58) na
Equity at 30 June bc $ 4,676,180 5,233,600 (5) na
Equity ratio bd %   88   88 (1) na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b $ 263,590 360,000 (14) na
Farm management deposits (FMDs) at 30 June b $ 76,360 104,700 (17) na
Share of farms with FMDs at 30 June b %   28   33 (12) na
Rate of returne          
    - excluding capital appreciation % 2.8 1.5 (12) 0.7
    - including capital appreciation % 6.8 3.6 (17) na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b $ 49,370 40,700 (15) 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 error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 2 Farm cash income of Queensland broadacre farms, by region, 2016–17 to 2018–19
average per farm
ABARES region Unit 2016–17 2017–18p RSE 2018–19y
311: Cape York and the Gulf $ 655,600 1,065,000 (16) 1,026,000
312: West and South West $ 170,100 471,000 (28) 164,000
313: Central North $ 408,600 271,000 (29) 340,000
314: Charleville - Longreach $ 246,700 160,000 (36) 69,000
321: Eastern Darling Downs $ 142,500 128,000 (16) 146,000
322: Darling Downs and Central Highlands $ 327,800 227,000 (12) 147,000
331: South Queensland Coastal $ 80,500 73,000 (30) 72,000
332: North Queensland Coastal $ 85,200 53,000 (47) 123,000

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Shows the ABARES high rainfall zone (eastern seaboard, South Australian south-east coast and south-west coast of Western Australia); wheat–sheep zone (south-east Queensland excluding the coast; central New South Wales, including the North West Slopes and Plains, Central West and Riverina, northern Victoria, South Australian Eyre Peninsula, Murraylands and Yorke Peninsula and Western Australian wheat belt ); and pastoral zone (Northern Territory, northern and central Western Australia, northern and central South Australia, western New South Wales, and northern and western Queensland). The map also shows the ABARES regions within these zones.

Note: Each region is identified by a unique code of three digits. The first digit identifies the state or territory, the second digit identifies the zone and the third digit identifies the region.
Source: ABARES

Table 3 Financial performance in Queensland, by industry, 2016–17 to 2018–19
average per farm
Industry/region Farm cash income ($) Proportion of farms (%)
2016–17 2017–18p RSE 2018–19y 2016–17 2017–18p RSE
All broadacre industries 217,600 179,000 (8) 142,000 100 100 100
Wheat and other crops 348,500 239,000 (12) 123,000 13 13 13
Mixed livestock–crops 290,500 141,000 (41) 128,000 6 7 7
Sheep 131,600 97,000 (48) 134,000 4 5 5
Beef 193,000 177,000 (11) 147,000 76 75 74

Farm cash income of wheat and other crops farms declined by around 33 per cent from $348,500 in 2016–17 to $239,000 in 2017–18 (Figure 2).The 10-year average of farm cash income to 2016–17 is around $237,000. Total cash receipts declined as a result of lower crop production due to dry seasonal conditions. Total cash costs also declined because of the reduction in the area planted to wheat and other crops.

In 2018–19 the financial performance of wheat and other crops farms in Queensland is projected to decline further by 50 per cent to average $123,000 due to ongoing drought conditions that are expected to reduce winter crop production in Queensland.

Figure 2 Real farm cash income, wheat and other crops industry, 1998–99 to 2018–19
average per farm
p Preliminary estimate.y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Farm cash income of Queensland mixed livestock–crops industry farms declined by around 50 per cent in 2017–18 to an estimated $141,000 per farm (Figure 3). Incomes fell because of lower crop production as a result of dry seasonal conditions and lower prices for beef cattle. The 10-year average of farm cash income to 2016–17 is around $116,000 per farm.

In 2018–19 the financial performance of mixed livestock–crops industry farms in Queensland is projected to decline further due to ongoing drought conditions that are expected to reduce winter crop production. Livestock receipts are projected to increase partly offsetting reductions in crop receipts. Expenditure on major cost items are also projected to decline due to lower crop areas planted because of dry seasonal conditions.

Figure 3 Real farm cash income, mixed livestock–crops industry, 1998–99 to 2018–19
average per farm
p Preliminary estimate.y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Farm cash income of Queensland sheep industry farms declined by around 26 per cent in 2017–18 to $97,000 per farm (Figure 4). Receipts from the sale of sheep declined by more than 50 per cent as a result of a decline in turn-off of sheep despite higher sheep and lamb prices. Receipts from the sale of beef cattle increased as a result of increased turn-off of beef cattle, partly offsetting the decline in sheep receipts. Total cash costs increased slightly mainly as a result of increased expenditure on purchased feed. Farm cash income in 2017–18 was slightly above the 10-year average to 2016–17 of $95,000.

In 2018–19 the financial performance of sheep industry farms in Queensland is projected to increase by 38 per cent to $134,000 per farm. Total cash receipts are projected to increase slightly as a result of higher prices for grains, sheep, lambs and wool. Total cash costs are projected to decline mainly as a result of decline in expenditure on livestock purchases.

Figure 4 Real farm cash income, sheep industry, 1998–99 to 2018–19
average per farm
p Preliminary estimate.y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Average farm cash incomes of beef industry farms decreased by 10 per cent to $177,000 per farm in 2017–18. Receipts from the sale of beef cattle declined slightly as a result of lower cattle prices. Average total cash costs increased mainly as a result of increases in expenditure on purchased feed and repairs and maintenance.

In 2018–19 farm cash income of beef industry farms is projected to decline by a further 19 per cent to average $147,000 per farm (Figure 5). Incomes are expected to fall because of lower prices for beef cattle and reduced cattle turn-off. Average total cash costs are projected to decline despite a large increase in expenditure on purchased feed. Nevertheless, average farm cash income in 2018–19 is estimated to be 23 per cent above the 10–year average to 2017–18 of $119,500 per farm.

Figure 5 Real farm cash income, beef industry, 1998–99 to 2018–19
average per farm
p Preliminary estimate.y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Average farm cash income of Queensland dairy farms declined by 13 per cent to $137,800 per farm in 2017–18 (Table 4). This was a result of increased total cash costs due to prevailing dry seasonal conditions and higher fodder prices, despite an increase total milk receipts because of increases in milk production and milk prices. Farm cash income in 2017–18 is estimated to be around 12 per cent above the 10-year average to 2016–17.

On average, the financial performance of dairy farms in Queensland is expected to worsen considerably in 2018–19 (Figure 6) due to higher purchased feed costs and lower milk production and milk receipts. Average farm business profit is expected to fall even further than farm cash income because of a rundown in holdings of dairy cattle.

Figure 6 Real farm cash income, dairy industry, 1998–99 to 2018–19
average per farm
 
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey
Table 4 Financial performance, Queensland dairy industry 2016–17 to 2018–19
average per farm
  Unit 2016–17 2017–18p RSE 2018–19y
Total cash receipts $ 614,740 655,000 (7) 601,000
Total cash costs $ 455,610 517,200 (6) 540,000
Farm cash income $ 159,130 137,800 (16) 61,000
Farms with negative farm cash income %   9   3 (90)   44
Farm business profit $ 71,210 19,600 (143) –100,000
Profit at full equity          
    - excluding capital appreciation $ 99,060 54,800 (50) –67,000
    - including capital appreciation $ 164,570 73,400 (43) na
Farm capital at 30 June a $ 3,696,440 4,475,900 (8) na
Farm debt at 30 June b $ 395,240 441,800 (15) na
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b % –4 –3 (68) na
Equity at 30 June bc $ 3,291,610 3,980,600 (9) na
Equity ratio bd %   89   90 (2) na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b $ 131,520 113,800 (26) na
Farm management deposits (FMDs) at 30 June b $ 36,480 38,700 (39) na
Share of farms with FMDs at 30 June b %   27   21 (41) na
Rate of return e          
    - excluding capital appreciation % 2.8 1.2 (50) –1.5
    - including capital appreciation % 4.6 1.7 (43) na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b $ 19,940 19,900 (18) 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 error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey

Queensland had an estimated 589 vegetable-growing farms in 2017–18. Most farms were in the Darling Downs, Bundaberg, Bowen and the Burdekin delta. The highest value vegetables were tomatoes, beans, sweet corn and lettuce (ABS 2019).

Farm cash income for Queensland vegetable-growing farms declined by 21 per cent to average $216,400 per farm in 2017–18 (Table 5). An estimated 18 per cent increase in total cash costs more than offset a rise in total cash receipts as a result of higher average vegetable prices. Expenditure on contracts paid, hired labour, freight, and packing materials and charges were the main contributors to the increase in total cash costs in 2017–18.

Average farm cash income is estimated to have declined by 31 per cent to around $149,000 per farm in 2018–19 (Figure 7). Vegetable receipts are estimated to have fallen slightly by around 2 per cent, mainly as a result of a decline in potatoes and lettuce receipts. Average total cash costs are estimated to have increased by around 4 per cent in 2018–19.

Table 5 Selected physical and financial results, vegetable-growing farms, Queensland, 2017–18 and 2018–19
average per farm
Indicator 2017–18p RSE % change from 2016–17 2018–19y % change from 2017–18
Vegetable cash receipts ($) 1,379,100 (31) 16 1,350,000 –2
Area planted to vegetables (ha) 53 (33) 0 52 –1
Quantity of vegetables produced (t) 1,093 (20) –7 1,015 –7
Farm cash income ($) 216,400 (27) –21 149,000 –31

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Note: Figures in parentheses are standard errors expressed as a percentage of the estimate.
Source: Australian vegetable-growing farms survey

Figure 7 Farm cash income, vegetable-growing farms, 2007–08 to 2018–19
average per farm
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: Australian vegetable-growing farms 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: 24 January 2020
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