Grains well placed as a multi-billion dollar industry

THE Australian grains industry has weathered five years of volatility, including severe drought, and is now well placed as a valuable contributor to the economy.
Grains well placed as a multi-billion dollar industry Grains well placed as a multi-billion dollar industry Grains well placed as a multi-billion dollar industry Grains well placed as a multi-billion dollar industry Grains well placed as a multi-billion dollar industry

The grains industry outlook is promising, according to the latest report from peak body GrainGrowers.

Staff writer

The assessment is part of peak body GrainGrowers' State of the Australian Grains Industry 2021 report, released this week.

The GrainGrowers' report covers all aspects of the grain industry over a five-year period to 2019/2020.

Wheat remained Australia's dominant grain, accounting for roughly half the grains grown over the five years covered in the report.

However, the five years to 2019/20 saw the average volume of pulses and barley grown per year both rise by about 20 per cent when compared to the previous five years, and the value of this production increase by 70 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

GrainGrowers says there is unlikely to be an increase in barley grown in the medium term while reduced market access continues, but the high value and soil health benefits of chickpeas and other pulses (pulses fix nitrogen in the soil as they grow, potentially decreasing the amount of fertiliser that needs to be applied to the next crop grown in the same field) make their continued expansion an important opportunity for the Australian grains industry.

The report also noted that Australian grain farmers manage about four per cent of the Australian continent, with 22,300 grain farms covering an estimated 31 million hectares.

Australian grain farms employ over 34,000 people, with many thousands more employed along the value chain and in service industries - particularly in regional Australia.

The industry accounts for more than six per cent of employment in 105 local government areas.

Despite recent COVID disruptions and an eight per cent national reduction in average grain production per year as a result of severe drought in many regions, the average annual gross value of grain rose by one per cent to $12.9 billion.

And with a return to better seasonal conditions leading to forecasts for excellent crops in 2021, many grain growers are emerging from this challenging time optimistic of the period ahead, GrainGrowers says.

The full report can be downloaded here: https://bit.ly/3vwW7qG

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