Farm financial performance – New South Wales

​​​​​​​​​​Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane farms in New South Wales.

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Average farm cash income of New South Wales broadacre farms increased in 2014–15 by 19 per cent to $131,600. This increase resulted from increased cash receipts from the sale of beef cattle, sheep, wool and pulses and a decrease in expenditure on fodder and fuel.

Farm cash income of broadacre farms in New South Wales is estimated to have increased further in 2015–16 to an average of $176,000 a farm. This is more than double the 10–year average to 2014–15 of $78,000 and would is the highest average farm cash income recorded in New South Wales in the past 20 years. Average total cash receipts of broadacre farms in New South Wales are expected to have increased by 14 per cent in 2015–16 as a result of improved seasonal conditions leading to increased winter crop production in northern New South Wales as well as higher prices for beef cattle, lambs and wool.

Total cash costs are expected to have increased by 5 per cent in 2015–16 compared with 2014–15 despite a decline in expenditure on livestock purchases. Increased costs reflect greater expenditure on repairs and maintenance by beef cattle producing farms as well as expenditure on fertiliser, fodder and crop and pasture chemicals.

Average farm cash incomes are estimated to have increased in all regions of New South Wales in 2015–16, driven by increased receipts from beef cattle, crops, lambs and wool resulting from increased prices and higher crop production following improved seasonal conditions. Relatively low farm cash incomes were recorded in the Far West and the North West Slopes and Plains in 2014–15, with most farms subject to dry seasonal conditions.

Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Shows farm cash income for broadacre industry farms in Australia and New South Wales from 2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Financial performance, New South Wales broadacre industries 2013–14 to 2015–16 average per farm
Performance indicator2013–142014–15pRSE2015–16y

Total cash receipts ($)

403,270

440,200

(4)

500,000

Total cash costs ($)

292,700

308,600

(4)

324,000

Farm cash income ($)

110,570

131,600

(6)

176,000

Farms with negative farm cash income (%)

23

13

(20)

14

Farm business profit ($)

10,140

22,300

(33)

78,000

Profit at full equity a ($)

44,850

55,600

(14)

112,000

Farm capital at 30 June b ($)

3,567,370

3,824,400

(5)

na

Farm debt at 30 June c ($)

456,040

474,400

(9)

504,000

Equity ratio c d (%)

87

87

(1)

na

Rate of return a e (%)

1.3

1.5

(12)

2.9

Off-farm income c f ($)

35,570

41,300

(10)

na

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate
a Excludes capital appreciation
b Excludes leased plant and equipment
c Average per responding farm
d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital
e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July
f Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse
na Not available

Farm cash income of New South Wales broadacre farms, by region, 2014–15 to 2015–16 average per farm
Region2014–15pRSE2015–16y
$$

111: NSW Far West

154,000

(19)

222,000

121: NSW North West Slopes and Plains

100,000

(22)

213,000

122: NSW Central West

171,000

(9)

174,000

123: NSW Riverina

208,000

(9)

246,000

131: NSW Tablelands

73,000

(21)

116,000

132: NSW Coastal

28,000

(25)

46,000

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate

Shows the ABARES high rainfall zone (eastern seaboard, South Australian south-east coast and south-west coast of Western Australia); wheat–sheep zone (south-east Queensland excluding the coast; central New South Wales, including the North West Slopes and Plains, Central West and Riverina, northern Victoria, South Australian Eyre Peninsula, Murraylands and Yorke Peninsula and Western Australian wheat belt ); and pastoral zone (Northern Territory, northern and central Western Australia, northern and central South Australia, western New South Wales, and northern and western Queensland). The map also shows the ABARES regions within these zones.
Note: Each region is identified by a unique code of three digits. The first digit identifies the state or territory, the second digit identifies the zone and the third digit identifies the region. Source: ABARES

Average farm cash incomes of New South Wales beef industry farms increased considerably from $39,000 to $69,000 a farm in 2014–15 as a result of higher average prices received for beef cattle and increased cattle turn-off.

In 2015–16, farm cash income of New South Wales beef industry farms is projected to have increased further to average $85,000 a farm. This is around double the 10–year average to 2014–15 of $37,000 and the highest average farm cash income of beef industry farms since 2004–05. Further increase in beef cattle prices is estimated to have resulted in an increase in beef cattle receipts and more than offset increases in total farm cash costs.

Real farm cash income, beef industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Shows farm cash income for beef industry farms in Australia and New South Wales from 2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

In 2014–15, farm cash income of New South Wales sheep industry farms increased to average $106,000 a farm, as a result of an increase in sheep and lamb prices combined with slightly higher turn-off and an increase in the quantity of wool sold.

In 2015–16, farm cash income of New South Wales sheep industry farms is expected to have increased to an average of $123,000 a farm, around 77 per cent above the 10–year average to 2014–15. Total cash receipts are projected to have increased as a result of higher prices for sheep and wool combined with an increase in sheep turn-off. An estimated increase in expenditure on repairs and maintenance is expected to have more than offset the decline in expenditure on sheep purchases, fodder, interest payments and fuel, resulting in a small increase in total cash costs.

Real farm cash income, sheep industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Shows farm cash income for sheep industry farms in Australia and New South Wales from   2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Average cash income of New South Wales grains industry farms remained mostly unchanged, averaging $212,000 in 2014–15. Crop receipts decreased in some regions as a result of dry seasonal conditions causing reduced production of both winter and summer crops particularly in northern New South Wales. For mixed crop–livestock farms, these lower crop receipts were partly offset by increased receipts from sheep, lamb and beef cattle. Total cash costs decreased slightly reflecting reduced expenditure on fuel and interest paid.

In 2015–16, farm cash income is estimated to have increased for New South Wales grains industry farms to an average of $292,000 a farm. This is more than double the 10–year average to 2014–15 of $116,000 and mainly reflects increased winter crop production in northern New South Wales, together with higher prices for pulses.

Real farm cash income, grains industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Shows farm cash income for grains industry farms in Australia and New South Wales from   2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

In 2014–15 average farm cash incomes of New South Wales dairy farms increased significantly from $118,000 to $180,000 as a result of increased milk production and increased milk prices.

In 2015–16 farm cash income of New South Wales dairy industry farms is estimated to have declined to an average of $156,000 a farm. This is still around 21 per cent above the 10–year average to 2014–15. The decline in farm cash income is a result of lower milk prices in southern regions, increased expenditure on purchased fodder and a small reduction in milk production. The reduction in farm cash income in New South Wales is expected to have been relatively smaller than in other southern states because of milk prices being maintained in northern New South Wales.

Real farm cash income, dairy industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Shows farm cash income for dairy industry farms in Australia and New South Wales from   2001–02 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Financial performance, New South Wales dairy industry 2013–14 to 2015–16 average per farm
Performance indicator2013–142014–15pRSE2015–16y

Total cash receipts ($)

803,880

928,900

(3)

923,000

Total cash costs ($)

685,570

749,300

(3)

767,000

Farm cash income ($)

118,310

179,700

(11)

156,000

Farms with negative farm cash income (%)

16

15

(49)

19

Farm business profit ($)

3,920

80,100

(26)

30,000

Profit at full equity a ($)

66,050

148,400

(13)

94,000

Farm capital at 30 June b ($)

4,107,930

4,745,400

(8)

na

Farm debt at 30 June c ($)

807,920

890,500

(11)

947,000

Equity ratio c d (%)

80

81

(3)

na

Rate of return a e (%)

1.7

3.3

(13)

2.0

Off-farm income c f ($)

21,350

16,400

(21)

na

Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate
a Excludes capital appreciation
b Excludes leased plant and equipment
c Average per responding farm
d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital
e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July
f Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse
na Not available

There were an estimated 520 vegetable growing farms in New South Wales in 2014–15, accounting for around 21 per cent of Australian vegetable growing farms. Most of those vegetable farms in New South Wales were located in Greater Sydney, the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and the Far North Coast.

Farm cash income is estimated to have increased in 2015–16 to an average of $189,000 a farm, 128 per cent higher than the 9-year average farm cash income (in real terms) to 2014–15. Total vegetable production declined marginally as a result of a slight decline in the average area planted, but higher receipts for tomatoes resulted in an increase in total vegetable cash receipts in 2015–15.

Selected physical and financial results, Australian vegetable-growing farms, by state, 2014–15 and 2015–16, average per farm
Indicator2014–15pRSE% change from 2013–142015–16y% change from 2014–15

Vegetable cash receipts ($)

341,900

(104)

41

451,000

32

Area planted to vegetables (hectares)

22

(9)

–5

22

–3

Quantity of vegetables produced (tonnes)

609

(17)

23

596

–2

Farm cash income ($)

81,300

(46)

59

189,000

133

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Note: Figures in parentheses are standard errors expressed as a percentage of the estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian vegetable-growing farms survey

Real farm cash income, vegetable industry, 2005–06 to 2015–16, average per farm
Shows farm cash income for vegetable industry farms in Australia and New South Wales from   2005–06 to 2015–16 in 2015–16 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Vegetable Growing Farms Survey

The New South Wales sugarcane industry is mainly located between Grafton and Queensland border.
Farm cash income of New South Wales sugarcane growing farms is estimated to have increased from an average of $38,100 a farm in 2013–14 to an average of $82 000 a farm in 2014–15 as a result of increased sugarcane production.

Sugarcane receipts averaged $2,300 per hectare planted to sugarcane for New South Wales region farm businesses in 2013–14, compared to $3,090 for all sugarcane businesses nationally. Average cash costs of sugarcane production (excluding finance costs) was $2,040 per hectare in 2013–14 compared with $2,490 per hectare for all sugarcane businesses nationally, resulting in a cash operating margin (before finance costs) of $270 per hectare. This was below the average for all sugarcane businesses nationally of $600 per hectare in 2013–14.

Physical and financial performance, sugarcane growing farm businesses, New South Wales, 2013–14 to 2014–15, average per farm
Financial year

Area
(ha)

Yield
(t/ha)

Production
(t)

Total
cash receipts
($)

Total
cash costs
($)

Farm
cash income
($)

Rate of return
(%) a

2013–14

62

73

4,642

176,700

138,500

38,100

–2.6

2014–15 y

62

96

6,008

218,000

136,000

82,000

–0.6

Source: ABARES Australian Sugarcane Farm Businesses Survey
a rate of return excluding capital appreciation
y provisional estimate

In New South Wales, in 2013–14, 3 per cent of sugarcane growers intended to expand production over the next five years, the lowest proportion of all Australian sugarcane producing regions. The highest proportion of farms expecting to diversify or reduce production was in New South Wales (31 per cent).

These financial performance results were sourced from ABARES survey of Australian sugarcane growing farm businesses, which collected a comprehensive set of financial, physical and management information on farm businesses that grow sugarcane. Comprehensive results can be found here.

Major financial performance indicators

  • Total cash receipts: total revenues received by the business during the financial year.
  • Total cash costs: payments made by the business for materials and services and for permanent and casual hired labour (excluding owner manager, partner and family labour).
  • Farm cash income:total cash receipts - total cash costs
  • Farm business profit:farm cash income + changes in trading stocks - depreciation - imputed labour costs
  • Profit at full equity: return produced by all the resources used in the business, farm business profit + rent + interest + finance lease payments - depreciation on leased items
  • Rate of return: return to all capital used, profit at full equity * 100 / total opening capital
  • Equity ratio: Farm capital minus farm debt expressed as a percentage of farm capital

Industry types

  • Grains: farms mainly engaged in producing broadacre crops such as wheat, coarse grains, oilseeds and pulses, and including farms running sheep and/or beef cattle in conjunction with substantial broadacre crop activity.
  • Sheep: farms mainly engaged in running sheep.
  • Beef: farms mainly engaged in running beef cattle.
  • Dairy: farms mainly engaged in milk production.
  • Vegetable: farms mainly engaged in growing vegetables.

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Last reviewed:
06 Mar 2017