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Farm financial performance – Queensland

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

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Farm cash incomes increased in all Queensland regions in 2015–16. This was achieved partly through a reduction in cattle herds as cattle turn-off increased in response to dry seasonal conditions and higher cattle prices. Farm cash income increased by 20 per cent

Average broadacre farm cash income in Queensland increased to $232,000 per farm in 2016–17 (Table 1). This was the highest recorded for Queensland in the 20 years since 1997–98. In 2016–17 farm cash income increased in the Cape York and the Gulf region, Central North, Charleville–Longreach, Darling Downs and Central Highlands, South Queensland Coastal and North Queensland Coastal regions (Table 2). In contrast, farm cash income decreased in the West and South West, and Eastern Darling Downs regions. In 2016–17 production of wheat and pulses, particularly chickpeas, increased, but grain sorghum production decreased.

Overall total farm cash receipts for Queensland broadacre farms are estimated to have decreased by 12 per cent in 2017–18 (Figure 1). Average total cash costs are estimated to have decreased by around 8 per cent. Average broadacre farm cash income in Queensland is estimated to have decreased to $186,000 per farm in 2017–18, still around 55 per cent above the 10-year average to 2016–17.

Figure 1 Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for broadacre industry farms in Australia and Queensland from 1996–97 to 2016–17 dollars. Farm cash income has been consistently positive. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
Table 1 Financial performance, all broadacre industries, Queensland, 2015–16 to 2017–18
average per farm
MeasureUnit2015–162016–17pRSE2017–18y
Total cash receipts$511,920616,200(6)540,000
Total cash costs$310,690384,300(10)355,000
Farm cash income$201,230232,000(8)186,000
Farms with negative farm cash income%  17  13(21)  23
Farm business profit $74,210137,400(12)77,000
Profit at full equity
    - excluding capital appreciation$114,150181,300(10)122,000
    - including capital appreciation$425,300366,300(13)na
Farm capital at 30 June a$5,618,3606,374,000(4)na
Net capital additions$61,24046,900(145)na
Farm debt at 30 June b$626,150706,100(11)759,000
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b%06(94)4
Equity at 30 June bc$4,505,6204,953,900(4)na
Equity ratio bd%  88  88(1)na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b$189,860269,900(13)na
Farm management deposits (FMDs) at 30 June b$51,96079,600(16)na
Share of farms with FMDs at 30 June b%  28  29(12)na
Rate of return e
    - excluding capital appreciation%2.23.0(8)1.9
    - including capital appreciation%8.16.0(13)na
Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse b$38,53052,300(12)na

a Excludes leased plant and equipment. b Excludes capital appreciation. c Farm capital minus farm debt. d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital. e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July. p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate. RSE Figures in parentheses are standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Table 2 Farm cash income of Queensland broadacre farms, by region, 2016–17 to 2017–18
average per farm
ABARES region

Five years ending
2015–16

2016–17p

RSE

2017–18y

311: QLD Cape York and the Gulf

202,230

730,200

(26)

906,000

312: QLD West and South West

218,880

172,100

(59)

276,000

313: QLD Central North

153,050

396,100

(30)

295,000

314: QLD Charleville - Longreach

166,750

253,800

(17)

308,000

321: QLD Eastern Darling Downs

100,900

96,100

(43)

151,000

322: QLD Darling Downs and Central Highlands

165,440

378,200

(10)

219,000

331: QLD South Queensland Coastal

48,920

94,000

(24)

60,000

332: QLD North Queensland Coastal

73,410

131,000

(27)

132,000

p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

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 beef industry farms increased by 5 per cent to $203,100 per farm in 2016–17 as a result of increased cattle prices. Average total cash costs also increased mainly as a result of increases in expenditure on livestock purchases, repairs and maintenance, and hired labour.

In 2017–18 farm cash income of beef industry farms is estimated to have decreased to average $186,000 per farm (Figure 2) due to decreased beef cattle receipts as a result of lower prices for beef cattle and reduced cattle turn-off. Nevertheless, average farm cash income is estimated to be almost 74 per cent above the 10–year average to 2016–17 of $107,100 per farm.

Figure 2 Real farm cash income, beef industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for beef industry farms in Australia and Queensland 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.
p Preliminary estimate.y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Farm cash income for Queensland grains farms increased in 2016–17 to an average of $411,300 per farm. This was the result of higher receipts from increased winter crop production and beef cattle sales offsetting lower prices for grains, reduced grain sorghum production and increased total cash costs.

Total farm cash receipts for Queensland grain farms are estimated to have decreased by 26 per cent in 2017–18 due to lower crop receipts as a result of reduced crop production and reduced livestock receipts as a result of lower beef cattle prices. Average total cash costs are estimated d to have decreased by around 8 per cent. Average farm cash income is estimated to have decreased to $193,000 per farm in 2017–18 (Figure 3), still around 8 per cent above the 10-year average to 2016–17.

Figure 3 Real farm cash income, grains industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for grains industry farms in Australia and Queensland 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.
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Average farm cash income of Queensland dairy farms increased from an average of $137,550 to $159,100 per farm in 2016–17 (Table 3). This was a result of increased receipts because of improved milk production despite slight decline in average milk prices and increased receipts from the sale of cattle.

In 2017–18, farm cash income of Queensland dairy industry farms is estimated to have decreased to an average of $116,000 per farm (Figure 4) as dry seasonal conditions and higher fodder prices resulted in increased fodder expenditure and reduced milk production per farm. Farm cash income in 2017–18 is estimated to be around 6 per cent below the 10-year average to 2016–17.

Figure 4 Real farm cash income, dairy industry, 1997–98 to 2017–18
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for dairy industry farms in Australia and Queensland 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.
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey
Table 3 Financial performance, Queensland dairy industry 2015–16 to 2017–18
average per farm
MeasureUnit2014–152015–16pRSE2016–17y
Total cash receipts$566,120614,700(5)577,000
Total cash costs$428,570455,600(6)462,000
Farm cash income$137,550159,100(11)116,000
Farms with negative farm cash income%  8  9(79)  8
Farm business profit $63,78071,200(45)4,000
Profit at full equity
    - excluding capital appreciation$99,37099,100(32)22,000
    - including capital appreciation$189,550164,600(25)na
Farm capital at 30 June a$3,499,8203,696,400(5)na
Net capital additions$72,69048,700(25)na
Farm debt at 30 June b$468,230395,200(14)343,000
Change in debt - 1 July to 30 June b%2.04.0(188)2.0
Equity at 30 June bc$3,031,6003,291,600(6)na
Equity ratio bd%  87  89(2)na
Farm liquid assets at 30 June b$125,660131,500(22)na
Farm management deposits (FMDs) at 30 June b$30,78036,500(29)na
Share of farms with FMDs at 30 June b%  15  27(39)na
Rate of return e
    - excluding capital appreciation%3.02.8(30)0.6
    - including capital appreciation%5.74.6(23)na
Off-farm income of owner manager and partner b$19,99014,900(24)na

a Excludes leased plant and equipment. b Excludes capital appreciation. c Farm capital minus farm debt. d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital. e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July. p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate. RSE Figures in parentheses are standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided. na Not available.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey

In 2015–16 Queensland had an estimated 550 vegetable-growing farms, accounting for around 23 per cent of Australian vegetable-growing farms. Most farms were in the Darling Downs, around Bundaberg, Bowen and in the Burdekin delta. The average area of Queensland vegetable-growing farms was around 412 hectares, with 59 hectares planted to vegetables. Vegetable production accounted for 8 per cent of the gross value of agricultural production in Queensland (ABS 2017b).

In 2015–16 average farm cash income for Queensland vegetable-growing farms increased by around 65 per cent to average $207,100 per farm. Total vegetable production per farm increased as a result of an increase in the average area planted to vegetables and higher yields. Higher receipts from green beans, broccoli, potatoes and onions largely contributed to the increase in vegetable receipts. Average total cash costs increased by 22 per cent to around $1,184,400 per farm, partially offsetting the increase in total cash receipts. Hired labour, packing materials, contracts paid, and crop and pasture chemicals largely contributed to the increases in total cash costs in 2015–16.

Average farm cash income is projected to decline in 2016–17 to around $148,000 per farm. Vegetable receipts are projected to increase marginally by around 2 per cent, mainly as a result of an increase in potato, onion, broccoli and capsicum receipts. However, the average area planted and quantities produced for most vegetables are projected to decline because of crop losses from heavy rains and floods in some regions. Average total cash costs are projected to increase by around 8 per cent.

Table 4 Selected physical and financial results, vegetable-growing farms, Queensland, 2015–16 and 2016–17
average per farm
Indicator 2015–16pRSE% change from 2014–152016–17y% change from 2015–16
Vegetable cash receipts ($)1,230,900(63)411,259,0002
Area planted to vegetables (hectares)59(71)3657–3
Quantity of vegetables produced (tonnes)1,398(38)541,327–5
Farm cash income ($)207,100(69)65148,000–28

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

Figure 5 Farm cash income, vegetable-growing farms, 2006–07 to 2016–17
average per farm
Shows farm cash income for vegetable industry farms in Australia and Queensland 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.
p Preliminary estimate. y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian vegetable growing farms survey

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.

Farm surveys definitions and methods
Further information about our survey definitions and methods.

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Last reviewed:
05 Jun 2018