This data dashboard contains farm performance statistics for farms of different sizes, by industry and region. These data have been collected through ABARES surveys of broadacre and dairy farms. The statistics displayed on this data dashboard complement other ABARES farm performance statistics, and highlight the significant differences in financial performance that exist across farms of different sizes.
July 2023 Data Update
Data in this dashboard was updated in July 2023 to include the latest estimates for 2021–22.
This PowerBI data dashboard may not meet accessibility requirements. For more information about the contents of this product contact ABARES.
Key points for 2019–20 to 2021–22
- The largest 10% of broadacre farms produced around half of total output, while the smallest 50% of farms produced around 10% of total output.
- For broadacre industries, continued improvement in seasonal conditions in 2021–22 led to performance gains in all size deciles, with only the smallest 10% of farms recording cash costs greater than cash receipts on average.
- The largest 10% of broadacre farms had the highest average rate of return and the lowest equity ratio of all deciles, mainly reflecting the performance of cropping farms.
- The beef industry was the most concentrated industry, with the largest 10% of farms accounting for around 60% of output.
- Output shares were most equally distributed in the dairy industry, where the largest 10% of farms accounted for 34% of total output.
Size is an important determinant of farm business performance. Larger farms tend to be more profitable, invest more, and generate a higher rate of return on capital than smaller farms. Moreover, larger farms have more capacity to reduce their costs through scale, and a greater ability to invest in productivity-enhancing capital additions. These factors have driven a trend in recent decades towards fewer, but larger farm businesses. An important consequence of this trend is that industry level farm performance is increasingly driven by the performance of the largest farms.
The statistics presented in the dynamic tables include the following variables:
- Share of total output produced
- Total cash receipts
- Total cash costs
- Profit at full equity
- Total capital as at the beginning of the financial year
- Net capital additions
- Rate of return on capital, including capital appreciation
- Farm business equity ratio
This data dashboard provides statistics sourced from the following ABARES farm surveys:
- Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey (AAGIS)
- Australian Dairy Industry Survey (ADIS)
Farms in the broadacre and dairy industries are separated into size deciles based on farm total cash receipts—a measure of total revenue received by the business in a given financial year. Each category or ‘decile’ represents 10% of the farm population in each industry or region, ranked from smallest to largest based on revenue.
Farm performance varies significantly from year to year, reflecting volatility in seasonal conditions and commodity prices. Therefore, data are averaged over 2019–20 to 2021–22 to provide a more meaningful measure of farm performance than would be provided by a single year.
Industry and region coverage
Statistics for the broadacre industry are further split into the sub-industries of wheat and other crops, beef, sheep, grains, and mixed cropping–livestock. The grains industry is separated into the Grains Research and Development Corporation Western, Northern and Southern regions and the beef industry into the Meat & Livestock Australia Northern and Southern regions. Data are presented in dynamic tables according to classification by industry and region.
Historical Estimates for the Vegetables Industry
ABARES previously undertook a survey of Australian vegetable growing farms. The most recent vegetables industry survey was conducted for the 2018–19 financial year. Historical disaggregated farm performance statistics for the vegetables industry are available here.
Farm survey definitions and methods used to produce these statistics are available on the ABARES website. For further analysis and information about the design of these statistics see Boult and Jackson (2019).
Boult, C & Jackson, T 2019, ‘Disaggregating farm performance statistics by size, 2017–18’, in Agricultural Commodities: March quarter 2019, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.