Agricultural productivity

​​​​Productivity measures the quantity of output produced with a given quantity of inputs. Long term productivity growth reflects improvements in farmers’ production efficiency and technological progress. Improving productivity on farms contributes to profitability and competiveness because it allows farmers to produce more output using fewer inputs.

A key focus of ABARES research is measuring Australian agricultural productivity and understanding the factors that influence its growth, such as innovation, seasonal conditions and policy changes.

Recent insights

Controlling for the effects of climate on total factor productivity: A case study of Australian farms

28 June 2021

Estimates of agricultural productivity growth are very sensitive to climate variability. This journal article in Food Policy outlines the methodology to construct climate adjusted productivity estimates for Australian broadacre agriculture.

Australian Agricultural Productivity, 2019–20 data dashboard

28 June 2021

This product now includes climate adjusted productivity estimates from 1988–89 to 2019–20. Explore the latest ABARES agricultural productivity estimates for the broadacre and dairy industries in an interactive data dashboard.

Disaggregating farm performance statistics by size, 2019–20 data dashboard

2 March 2021

Farm business size is an important indicator of performance. This report provides farm financial performance statistics by different size categories for the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries. This release includes the latest data through to 2019–20, and presents the results in a new interactive data dashboard.

Using hedonic modelling to analyse farmland price movements

13 December 2019

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.

ICT use in Australian agriculture: A survey of broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms

1 November 2018

New information and communications technology (ICT) could deliver the next wave of productivity growth in Australian agriculture. This report explores the role of ICT and potential barriers to its use on farms. Results from ABARES survey, of over 2200 farmers in 2016–17, are presented for broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms.

Exploring the relationship between farm size and productivity: Evidence from the Australian grains industry, Food Policy Journal

29 March 2018

Farm size has a positive relationship with productivity (i.e. larger farms tend to have higher productivity) and capital hire may make new and advanced technologies more accessible for small farms and bring their productivity closer to that of large farms.

What difference does labour choice make to farm productivity and profitability in the Australian horticulture industry? A comparison between seasonal workers and working holiday makers

February 2018

On average seasonal workers are 20 per cent more productive than backpackers, but their non-wage labour costs are 2.3 times higher. Productivity benefits of hiring seasonal workers likely outweigh the higher non-wage labour costs and deliver profitability gains for farmers, as non-wage costs are generally relatively small.

Last reviewed: 30 June 2021
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