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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Performance of broadacre farms

Average farm cash income of Queensland broadacre farms declined by 43% to average $105,000 per farm in 2018–19 due to drought (Figure 1). This was 21% below the 10-year average to 2017–18 of $132,000 per farm. Reduced grain production resulted in crop receipts falling by 50%, while beef cattle receipts declined by 20%. Drought increased the proportion of lower-weight, lower-value cattle sold in southern Queensland. In northern and central Queensland region beef cattle turn-off slowed, reducing receipts as producers commenced rebuilding herds after several years of high turn-off.

Farm business profit declined as grain stocks on Queensland cropping farms were reduced, cattle herds on farms in south-eastern Queensland were reduced, and flooding resulted in large losses of beef cattle in northern Queensland. Parts of Cape York and the Gulf, West and South West Queensland and Central North Queensland regions suffered high losses of mainly young cattle in a major flooding and cold weather event in February 2019. Severely impacted properties were located in the shires of Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Flinders, McKinlay, Richmond and Winton. Some younger cattle lost in the flooding had been transferred into this region in 2018–19, particularly from the Northern Territory.

In 2019–20, average farm cash income of Queensland broadacre farms is projected to increase by 2% to $130,000 per farm (Table 1). Farm cash income is projected to increase most in northern and north-western regions of Queensland that predominantly graze beef cattle, reflecting higher beef cattle prices and increased beef cattle turn-off. Regions expected to have higher farm cash income include Cape York and the Gulf, West and South West Queensland, Central North Queensland and Charleville–Longreach regions (Table 2). Rainfall in early 2020 is likely to slow beef cattle turn-off in many regions, particularly in southern and central Queensland.

Average farm incomes in the Eastern Darling Downs region are expected to be much lower in 2019–20 as a result of lower overall crop production. In the Darling Downs and Central Highlands regions small reductions in winter crop receipts and an increase in summer grain sorghum receipts are projected to result in slightly higher average farm cash income and farm business profit in 2019–20.

Figure 1 Farm cash income, broadacre 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, broadacre farms, Queensland, 2017–18 to 2019–20
average per farm
Performance measure Unit 2017–18 2018–19p RSE 2019–20y
Total cash receipts $ 563,863 427,400 (5) 451,500
Total cash costs $ 378,177 322,740 (6) 321,300
Farm cash income $ 185,686 104,670 (13) 130,200
Farm business profit $ 56,345 –38,250 (52) –53,200
Profit at full equity
 -  excluding capital appreciation $ 98,355 –120 (99) –13,200
 -  including capital appreciation $ 239,398 219,580 (24) na
Farm capital at 30 June a $ 6,062,045 6,062,440 (6) na
Farm business debt at 30 June b $ 698,257 732,450 (11) 798,700
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b $ 24,822 53,670 (63) 35,100
Farm business equity at 30 June bc $ 5,363,788 5,329,990 (6) na
Equity ratio bd %    89 88 (1) na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b $ 359,234   251,580 (17) na
Rate of Return e   
 -  excluding capital appreciation % 1.5 0.0 (99) –0.2
 -  including capital appreciation % 3.7 3.4 (22) na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b $ 39,604   32,970 (13) 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, Queensland, broadacre farms, by region, 2017–18 to 2019–20
average per farm
ABARES region a Unit 2017–18 2018–19p RSE 2019–20y
Cape York and the Gulf $ 1,219,900 620,000 (20) 1,125,000
West and South West $ 400,600 –18,000 (99) 149,000
Central North $ 297,100 89,000 (92) 308,000
Charleville - Longreach $ 137,600 62,000 (53) 163,000
Eastern Darling Downs $ 106,700 97,000 (33) –9,000
Darling Downs and Central Highlands $ 243,300 150,000 (17) 166,000
South Queensland Coastal $ 97,900 80,000 (22) 97,000
North Queensland Coastal $ 52,300 59,000 (32) 48,000

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.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 3 Financial performance, Queensland, by industry, 2017–18 to 2019–20
average per farm

Industry
Farm cash income ($) Proportion of farms (%)
2017–18 2018–19p RSE 2019–20y 2018–19p
All broadacre farms 185,700 105,000 (14) 130,000 100
Wheat and other crops 246,000 142,000 (34) –102,000 7
Mixed livestock–crops 125,400 94,000 (36) 64,000 6
Beef 187,100 108,000 (14) 159,000 81
Sheep a 103,900 20,000 (180) 96,000 6

a Sheep industry in Queensland includes sheep farming (ANZIC code 0141) and sheep-beef cattle farming (ANZIC code 0144). p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Performance of wheat and other crops industry farms

Farm cash income of wheat and other crops industry farms declined by 42% to $142,400 per farm in 2018–19 (Table 3). Total cash receipts declined as a result of reduced grain production due to drought. Total cash costs also declined by 7% because of reduced expenditure on crop and pasture chemicals, handling and marketing costs and fertiliser due to declines in the area planted to wheat and other crops. Average farm cash income recorded in 2018–19 was 37% below the 10-year average of farm cash income to 2017–18 is around $231,000.

In 2019–20, average farm cash income of wheat and other crops industry farms in Queensland is projected to decline by a further 172% to average negative $102,000 per farm due to projected declines in winter grain production as a result of ongoing drought conditions (Figure 2). The overall area planted to summer crops in Queensland is forecast to decline in 2019–20, resulting in lower summer crop production and receipts. Widespread rain in Queensland cropping regions in January and February 2020 revived prospects for summer crops, resulting in an increase in late planted grain sorghum. However farm business profit in Queensland will still be lower in 2019–20 at negative $361,000 per farm.

Figure 2 Farm cash income, wheat and other crops industry, 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

Performance of mixed livestock–crops industry farms

Farm cash income of Queensland mixed livestock–crops industry farms declined by around 25% in 2018–19 to average $94,000 per farm (Figure 3). Total cash receipts fell by 13% because of lower crop production as a result of drought and lower prices for beef cattle. Increased receipts from selling sheep and wool partly offset the decline in total cash receipts. Total cash costs also declined by 10% as a result of reduced expenditure on livestock purchases, repairs and maintenance, fertiliser, and fuel, oil and grease. Farm cash income in 2018–19 is 25% below 10-year average to 2017–18 of around $127,000 per farm.

In 2019–20 the financial performance of mixed livestock–crops industry farms in Queensland is projected to decline by further 32% to average $64,000 per farm due to a projected decline in receipts from sheep and wool. Total cash costs are projected to remain largely unchanged at around $445,000 per farm.

Figure 3 Farm cash income, mixed livestock–crops industry, 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

Performance of sheep industry farms

Farm cash income of Queensland sheep industry farms declined by around 81% in 2018–19 to average $20,000 per farm (Figure 4). Total receipts declined by 18% as a result of reduced receipts from sales of beef cattle and wool. Average receipts from sheep increased by 20% as a result of an increase in turn-off of sheep, partly offsetting the declines in beef and wool receipts. Total cash costs increased by 5% mainly as a result of increased expenditure on purchased feed and repairs and maintenance. Farm cash income in 2018–19 was 79% below the 10-year average to 2017–18 of $105,000 per farm.

In 2019–20, the financial performance of sheep industry farms in Queensland is projected to increase by 376% to $96,000 per farm. Total cash receipts are projected to increase by 29% as a result of higher sheep, wool and beef cattle receipts. Total cash costs are projected to increase by 6% to $327,000 per farm. Farm cash income in 2019–20 will be just above the 10-year average to 2018–19 of $94,000 per farm.

Figure 4 Farm cash income, sheep industry, 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

Performance of beef industry farms

Average farm cash incomes of beef industry farms in Queensland decreased by 42% to $108,000 per farm in 2018–19 (Figure 5). Receipts from the sale of beef cattle declined by 22% as a result of a reduction in beef cattle turn-off. Average total cash costs also decreased by 15%, mainly as a result of a decline in expenditure on beef cattle purchases, partly offsetting the decline in total receipts. Farm cash income in 2018–19 was 10% below the 10-year average to 2017–18 of $122,000 per farm.

In 2019–20, farm cash income of beef industry farms is projected to increase by 47% to average $159,000 per farm. Average receipts are expected to increase by 14% because of higher beef cattle prices and projected increases in beef cattle turn-off. Average total cash costs are projected to increase slightly by 2%. Average farm cash income in 2019–20 is estimated to be 27% above the 10–year average to 2018–19 of $125,000 per farm.

Figure 5 Farm cash income, beef industry, 1999–2000 to 2019–20
average per farm
blank
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Performance of dairy farms

Average farm cash income of Queensland dairy farms declined by 42% in 2018–19 to average $80,500 per farm due to higher purchased feed costs as a result of dry seasonal conditions and high fodder prices (Figure 6). Slightly higher milk prices were offset by lower milk production, leaving milk receipts per farm largely unchanged.

In 2019–20 the financial performance of dairy farms in Queensland is expected to improve slightly (Table 4). Overall state milk production is projected to fall sharply, partly a result of the exit of farms from dairying. On farms remaining in dairying, milk production is projected to decline due to continued dry seasonal conditions in 2019 and purchased feed costs. Reduced milk production is expected to result in lower average milk receipts, despite a small increase in milk prices. The reduction in milk receipts is expected to be more than offset by a reduction in purchased feed costs—resulting in average farm cash income increasing to $89,000 per farm in 2019–20. In 2019–20, average farm business profit is projected to be $57,000 per farm reflecting a further run-down in holdings of dairy cattle.

Figure 6 Farm cash income, dairy farms, 1999–2000 to 2019–20
average per farm
blank
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey
 
Table 4 Financial performance, dairy farms, Queensland, 2017–18 to 2019–20
average per farm
Performance measure Unit 2017–18 2018–19p RSE 2019–20y
Total cash receipts $ 655,012 660,610 (6) 622,400
Total cash costs $ 517,168 580,070 (6) 533,800
Farm cash income $ 137,845 80,540 (26) 88,600
Farm business profit $ 18,305 –58,970 (44) –57,100
Profit at full equity
 -  excluding capital appreciation $ 53,377 –16,920 (99) –23,600
 -  including capital appreciation $ 8,908 –17,160 (99) na
Farm capital at 30 June a $ 4,359,293 4,899,840 (8) na
Farm business debt at 30 June b $ 432,242 465,040 (20) 424,100
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b $ –24,141 39,800 (80) 28,500
Farm business equity at 30 June bc $ 3,927,051 4,434,810 (9) na
Equity ratio bd %    90 91 (2) na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b $ 113,756 134,190 (41) na
Rate of Return e
 -  excluding capital appreciation % 1.2 –0.3 (99) –0.5
 -  including capital appreciation % 0.2 –0.3 (99) na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b $ 19,852 24,020 (51) 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 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: 7 May 2020
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