The nation's agricultural boffins and bureaucrats are enjoying the welcome rain which has descended on Canberra this week to coincide with the annual Outlook conference of farm commodities forecaster Agricultural Bureau of Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
Despite the rain break today, drought has taken it's toll on farmers.
ABARES said production in 2018-19 is expected to be down about 6 per cent in volume and 4pc in value to $58 billion (from almost $60b last year), largely due to an 11pc slide in the value of the national grain crop after another droughty eastern states harvest and shrinking wool, meat and dairy output.
Australian cattle prices are expected to fall three per cent over 2019/2020 as the beef industry faces a triple threat of poor seasonal conditions, higher global production and increased export competition.
Drought across much of NSW and Queensland in 2018 led to an increased cattle turnoff and halted herd rebuilding efforts.
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Assuming seasonal condition improve in 2019, herd rebuilding is expected to resume and cattle prices are expected to lift with increased restocker activity.
ABARES is tipping Australian lamb producers will continue to enjoy lucrative returns over the next five years due to strong saleyard competition keeping falls in lamb prices to a minimum.
However, wool producers will see a loss of traction in the recent solid climb in wool prices, with a declining eastern market indicator (EMI) forecast for the 2019-20 selling season.
ABARES is forecasting a 38 per cent year on year increase in Australian wheat production for the upcoming season - based on the important caveat of a normal season.
It forecast production of 23.9 million tonnes of wheat for 2019-20, a substantial increase of the 2018-19 crop of 17.3m tonnes, which reflected one of the driest seasons on record in key grain growing regions in NSW and Queensland.