Australian farm income for beef cattle revealed

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Australian cattle farmers had a successful year with incomes increasing thanks to rising prices
Australian cattle farmers had a successful year with incomes increasing thanks to rising prices

Related tags Cattle Beef Livestock

The cash income of Australian beef cattle producing farms has increased strongly in 2014‒15, driven by increased cattle prices and the highest beef cattle turn-off in 36 years, an industry report indicates. 

In northern Australia, farm cash income for beef cattle producing farms is estimated to have increased from an average of A$74,700 a farm in 2013-14 to an average of $148,000 a farm in 2014-15. This is around 50% above the average for the previous 10 years, in real terms.

In southern Australia, farm cash income of farms mainly reliant on beef cattle production, is estimated to have increased from an average of A$38,100 a farm in 2013-14 to A$64,000 a farm in 2014-15. This is around 35% above the average for the 10 years ending 2013-14.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s report Australian beef: Financial performance of beef cattle producing farms 2012–13 to 2014–15​ used data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

Reduced cattle herds

ABARES executive director Karen Schneider said part of the increase in farm cash incomes had been achieved through reduced cattle herds as cattle turn-off increased in response to dry seasonal conditions and higher cattle prices.

“Depreciation of the Australian dollar and strong export demand for Australian beef and live cattle resulted in a 24% increase in beef cattle prices and further encouraged turn-off,” ​she said.

“Higher cattle prices are also estimated to have resulted in an increase in farm cash income for drought-affected farms.

‘Drought’

“Drought conditions affected an estimated 30% of Australian beef cattle producing farms in 2014‒15, particularly farms in Queensland and northern New South Wales.”

Australian minister for agriculture Barnaby Joyce MP welcomed the release of the report and said a major contributory factor was the strong international demand for beef and live cattle.

“Increases in cattle sold for live export and higher cattle prices resulted in farm cash income in the northern live cattle export region increasing from an average of $143,000 a farm in 2013–14 to $277,000 a farm in 2014–15,”​ he said.

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