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Agricultural exports are on track for a record year, but could face global trade restrictions

DESPITE input and supply chain disruptions, Australian agricultural exports are on track to reach a record value of $65 billion for 2022-23.

And, for the second consecutive year, the total value of production exceeds $80 billion thanks to favorable conditions and high world prices.

However, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science, trade restrictions in the global market may pose a long-term risk to Australian exporters.

ABARES executive director Jared Greenville said record crop exports are expected to reach $39.8 billion in 2022-23.

“Unusually high grain prices are expected due to poor seasons for major foreign producers and the unfortunate side effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on world grain markets,” Dr Greenville said.

“Soaring fertilizer costs and access to farm labor and imported machinery will continue to challenge many Australian agricultural businesses, but Australia has shown throughout the pandemic that we are a producer and a reliable and resilient food exporter.”

Dr Greenville said exporters are likely to continue to face continued supply chain disruptions, but exports are not expected to be significantly restricted.

“The 12 months to March saw a combined monthly average of three million tonnes of wheat, barley and canola shipped overseas to match records set after the then-record 2016-17 harvest,” said he declared.

“We expect our forestry and fisheries sectors to also perform well, with the total value of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors estimated at $86.2 billion. That’s just below the 2021-22 record. »

According to Dr Greenville, Australian growers have been able to benefit from favorable growing conditions in recent years, but longer term risks exist in the form of trade restrictions imposed by many countries in response to rising commodity prices. food.

“Trade restrictions increase global price volatility and reduce countries’ confidence in buying food from global markets,” he said.

“Reduced confidence in international markets is a concern for Australian producers as they are at the heart of both global food security and the long-term prosperity of Australian agriculture.”

Focusing on this year’s winter crop production, Dr Greenville said the season had started well after favorable planting conditions across the wheat-sheep belt in autumn.

“Excellent seasonal conditions and high crop prices are expected to push national winter crop plantings to the second-highest level on record at 23.4 million hectares,” Dr Greenville said.

“And our current forecast is that winter crop production in 2022-23 will be the fourth highest on record at 50.9 million tonnes.”

However, heavy rains in Queensland and parts of New South Wales in May were reported to have affected growers’ ability to seed their paddocks, and tighter fertilizer rationing due to high costs could lead to lower yields. .

“On a very positive note, the latest outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates another three months of above average winter rainfall for the Eastern States and South Australia,” Dr Greenville said.

He said total summer crop production in 2021-22 is also expected to reach a new record high of 5.5 million tonnes.

“Well above average rainfall in autumn helped end an excellent summer growing season in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

“This incredible performance comes despite flooding in Queensland and northern New South Wales, which was mostly localized and did not impact domestic volumes.”