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Farm investment: broadacre and dairy farms, 2014–15 to 2016–17

​​​​​​Peter Martin, Walter Shafron and Paul Phillips

Farm investment

Producers’ capacity to generate farm income is influenced by past investments in additional land to expand the scale of farming activities and in new infrastructure, plant and machinery to boost productivity in the longer term.

Over the decade to 2015–16 broadacre and dairy farmers invested heavily in land, plant and machinery. In 2015–16 new investment remained relatively high in historical terms for broadacre and dairy farms.

Higher farm cash incomes for broadacre farms in 2014–15 and 2015–16 led to an increase in the proportion of broadacre farms acquiring additional land through purchase or lease (Figure 1). Around 8 per cent of broadacre farms acquired additional land in 2014–15 and around 7 per cent in 2015–16. This was above the average of 5 per cent for the previous 10 years and comparable with the rates of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Figure 1 Proportion of broadacre farms acquiring land, Australia, 1996–97 to 2015–16
percentage of farms
Shows the percentage of broadacre farms acquiring land from 1996–97 to 2015–16. The proportion of broadacre farms acquiring land decreased in 2015–16. This figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.

Between 2009–10 and 2013–14 land values reported for broadacre and dairy farms declined in some regions, particularly in the pastoral zone of northern Australia (Figure 2). The increase in land sales led to a slight increase in reported broadacre land values in some regions in 2014–15 and 2015–16. This was particularly the case in high rainfall regions and some pastoral zone regions.

Figure 2 Land prices for broadacre farms, by zone, Australia, 1977–78 to 2015–16
average per farm
Shows an index of land prices for broadacre farms from 1977–78 to 2015–16. Pastoral zone land prices have trended higher than high rainfall and wheat-sheep. This figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.

Data and other resources

Broadacre and dairy industries data
AgSurf provides a large selection of ABARES farm survey data on the broadacre and dairy industries

Beef, lamb and sheep industries data
A large selection of ABARES farm survey data on the beef, slaughter lambs and sheep industries

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

Previous reports
See our publications page for previous versions of the report Australian farms surveys results.

About my region
ABARES has produced a series of individual profiles of the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries in your region. Each regional profile presents an overview of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors in the region, and the recent financial performance of the broadacre and, where relevant, d​airy, vegetable, and sugarcane industries.

Last reviewed:
12 Sep 2017