THE Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has released its December quarter 2020 Agricultural Commodities report. It expects Australian farmgate production of $65bn in 2020-21 on the back of the nation’s second largest winter crop and promising rainfall outlook.

ABARES executive director Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds said, “Overall, Australian agricultural production is bouncing back from the drought.

“Australian producers manage one of the most variable environments in the world so ebbs and flows in production are to be expected.

“We’re expecting a near all-time high winter crop, the best ever in New South Wales, and a more favourable outlook for summer cropping than we have seen in recent years.”

Livestock prices have also stayed high with herd and flock rebuilding, and continued international demand.

While production is forecast to rise by 7% to $65bn, exports are expected to fall by 7% from last year to $44.7bn.

“Exports have continued to find markets during the pandemic but the residual effect of past dry seasons and trade uncertainties are pushing down export value,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“Recovery from drought is limiting production and exports of livestock products and fibres, with meat prices also falling as the African Swine Fever impact on China’s pork production begins to lessen.

“There are a number of risks present for the rest of 2021 that remain a watch point, including wine trade with China and labour shortages for the horticulture sector,” he said.