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MANY Wimmera farmers can expect the biggest cash income in two decades after a bumper harvest.
New figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences show an exceptional spring, a bumper grain harvest and soaring livestock prices have pushed Australia’s anticipated average broadacre farm cash income to $216,000 for this financial year.
It is the third consecutive year of significant farm earnings rises, with the latest projections easily topping 2015-16’s record of $182,500 and doubling average incomes of the past decade.
Lawloit farmer John Bennett said this season’s harvest was record-breaking on his farm.
The canola and wheat yields were the best we ever had,” he said. “Last year was certainly a catch-up year on the back of two ordinary seasons.
“Farmers have generally been very happy with the harvest.
Mr Bennett said a strong season was good for the economy. “Livestock and wool prices are great as well – agriculture really is driving our economy,” he said.
Mr Bennett said while he agreed with the bureau’s income estimate, how much income each farmer received would depend on what they grew.
“If the farmer had a lot of lentils or canola in the rotation, there’s been a pretty good gross margin,” he said.
“Feed barley was pretty ordinary and so was lower protein grades of wheat.
“But lentils have been the big driver this year in the Wimmera and southern Mallee.”
However, Rupanyup farmer and Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said poor grain prices had severely effected income.
He said he didn’t agree with the bureau statistics.
”Prices were a third of average prices and that has certainly impacted overall income,” he said.
“Unfortunately when you look at the cost of production, people haven’t gone forward at all and some have gone backwards.”
Mr Weidemann said it was a season of extremes.
“Certainly production figures were well up, but unfortunately it doesn’t convert to money in the bank,” he said.
“I think some farmers will find these figures quite frustrating because it doesn’t reflect what they are actually seeing.”
This article first appeared on www.mailtimes.com.au
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