Economic trends and drivers affecting the Wheatbelt of Western Australia to 2030Ross Kingwell A and David Pannell B C
A Department of Agriculture Western Australia and University of Western Australia, Baron-Hay Court, South Perth 6151, Australia.
B University of Western Australia and CRC for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity, Crawley WA 6009, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: David.Pannell@uwa.edu.au
Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 56(6) 553-561 https://doi.org/10.1071/AR04196
Submitted: 26 August 2004 Accepted: 3 May 2005 Published: 24 June 2005
Most of the farm businesses in Western Australia remain profitable, with rates of return comparable with non-farming sectors. However, there is continuing pressure on poor-performing farms, as well as a range of social pressures, which mean that there will continue to be a steady fall in the number of farms in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. Most remaining farms will continue to be profitable, due in significant part to successful research and development (R&D). Farms will continue to be highly diversified. We expect the real prices of most agricultural commodities to continue to fall, although we note predictions for meat prices to rise in the medium to long-term. Key uncertainties about price trends include: future levels of agricultural protection in developed counties; the levels of price premia for ‘green’ products; the rates of productivity improvement for agriculture in developing countries; and energy prices. Key uncertainties about R&D/technology include the availability of funds for R&D, and the contributions of biotechnologies. Use of information technologies will increase, although not as much as some expect, and in some cases driven by shortages of skilled farm labour rather than production advantages. The fundamental elements of managing a farm have altered little, and we do not expect them to change in the next 30 years. Successful farm management will continue to depend largely on good decisions about the farm’s enterprise mix, machinery replacement, land leasing or purchase, labour hiring, and off-farm investments. Agricultural R&D should continue to address a diversified portfolio of issues, including attention to environmental issues, but not neglecting the need for ongoing productivity improvements in agriculture.
Additional keywords: future, R&D, social, farming systems, markets, environment.
Sincere thanks to John Mullen for providing Fig. 5. The authors are grateful to two anonymous referees and the editor for helpful suggestions.
ABARE (2003) Australian Farm Surveys Report 2003. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Canberra, ACT.
AFMS (1997) Farming in the information age. ‘Proceedings of the 23rd National Conference of the Australian Farm Management Society’. 6–8 February 1997, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. (Australian Farm Management Society)
Alexander P (2002) The family farm: expansion – contraction – status quo? Agribusiness Focus, Agribusiness Financial Services, No. 1, pp. 9–11.
Bardsley P, Harris M (1987) An approach to the econometric estimation of attitudes to risk in agriculture. Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics 31, 112–126.
Bennett, A , Edward, A , Young, J , and Kingwell, R (2004).
Blackwell P (1993) Improving sustainable production from water repellent sands. Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 34, 160–167.
Blackwell P, Webb B, Fretwell G, Moffat N, Chappel L (2004)
Bligh KJ, Grasby JC, Negus TR (1983) Water erosion, waterlogging and flooding. Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 24, 58–60.
Bond G, Wonder B (1980) Risk attitudes amongst Australian farmers. Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics 24, 16–34.
Bowden JW, Jarvis RJ (1985) Soil hardpans and plant growth Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 26, 16–17.
Carroll M (2003) Farm performance from a wealth creation perspective. Paper presented to Outlook 2003, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, in the session ‘Taking Rural Australia Forward, Canberra, ACT.
CIE (2001). ‘Projections to 2020 for selected agricultural products.’ Report prepared for CSIRO, Centre for International Economics, Canberra, ACT [Cited in M Dunlop, GM Turner, SM Howden (2004) Future sustainability of the Australian grains industry]. (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems: Canberra, ACT)
Chudleigh PD, Simpson SL (2001) The contribution of fertilizers to agricultural production in Australia. ‘Proceedings, Fertilizer Industry Federation of Australia Inc. Conference on Fertilizers in Focus’. 28–29 May 2001’. . (Ed. D McGuffog ) pp. 20–40. (Fertilizer Industry Federation of Australia: Canberra, ACT)
Coates, JF , Mahaffie, JB , and Hines, A (1998).
Coopers and Lybrand (1995).
Coopers and Lybrand (1995).
Dolling P, Porter WM (1994) Acidification rates in the central wheatbelt of Western Australia. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 34, 1155–1164.
| CrossRef |
Dunlop M, Turner GM, Howden SM (2004) Future sustainability of the Australian Grains Industry: a consultancy report prepared for the Grains Council of Australia and Grains Research and Development Corporation, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Canberra. .
Ferdowsian R, George R, Lewis F, McFarlane D, Short R, Speed R (1996) The extent of dryland salinity in Western Australia. ‘Proceedings, 4th National Conference and Workshop on the Productive Use and Rehabilitation of Saline Lands’. Albany, W. Aust. (Promaco Conventions: Perth, W. Aust.)
Focused Management (1998) Clean and safe foods: export study 1998. A report prepared for the South West Development Commission, Agriculture Western Australia, The Department of Commerce and Trade and The Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs.
Foster I (2002) Climate change projections and impacts for WA. Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, 5/2002.
Foster I (2004) The Indian Ocean climate initiative: climate research for WA. ‘Paper presented to the Agribusiness Crop Updates 2004. Farming Systems Proceedings’. Perth, W. Aust.
Garnaut J, Connell P, Lindsay R, Rodriguez V (2001) Country Australia: influences on employment and population growth. ABARE Research Report 2001.1, Canberra, ACT.
Glencross RN, Clarke MG (1984) Soil acidity and liming in the lower Great Southern Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 25, 142–145.
Grain Pool (2001) $20 tonne premium for Shochu for 2001/02. Grain Pool press release, 2 April 2001.
Grain Pool (2002) Verification a QA milestone. Grain Pool press release, 27 March 2002.
Ha A, Chapman L (2000) Productivity growth trends across Australian broadacre industries. Australian Commodities 7, 334–340.
Hogan L, Berry P, Thorpe S (1999) Regional Australia: incomes, industry location and infrastructure Australian Commodities 6, 674–687.
Howell M (1987) Gypsum use in the wheatbelt. Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 28, 40–43.
Hussey P (1993) Managing bushland on the farm Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 34, 16–19.
Industry Commission (1998) A full repairing lease, inquiry into ecologically sustainable land management. Final Report No.60, AusInfo, Canberra, ACT.
Karpin DS (1995) (1995) ‘Enterprising nation. ’ Report of the Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills.408. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, ACT.
Kingwell R (2002) Issues for farm management in the 21st Century: a view from the West. Vol. 10, Paper 6. http://www.agrifood.info/Review/2002v10/FarmManagement/Kingwell.htm
Kohl D (2001) Six steps to agricultural success. Accessed 2 January 2002.http://www.royalbank.com/agriculture/reference/strategy/stra_oct_2001_001.html
Malcolm B (2000) Farm management economic analysis: A few disciplines, a few perspectives, a few figurings, a few futures. In ‘Invited Paper to the 44th Annual Conference of Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.’ Sydney, 22–25 January 2000.
Marsh A a’B, Carter D (1983) Wind erosion. Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 24, 54–57.
Morrison DA, Kingwell RS, Pannell DJ, Ewing MA (1986) A mathematical programming model of a crop-livestock farm system Agricultural Systems 20, 243–268.
| CrossRef |
Mullen J (2002) Farm management in the 21st Century. Agribusiness Review 10, paper 5.
National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Committee (1998).
National Land and Water Resources Audit (2001).
Nichols P (2004) New subterranean clovers for the cropping zone. ‘Paper presented to the Agribusiness Crop Update 2004.‘Farming Systems’ section of Conference Proceedings.’ Perth, W. Aust..
Nichols P, Nicholas D (1992) Three new late-midseason subterranean clovers released for high rainfall pasture Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 33, 81–86.
Nutt B, Paterson J (1998) Charano: a new yellow serradella for low rainfall areas. Farmnote 29/98, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia
Pannell DJ (1987) Crop–livestock interactions and rotation selection. ‘MIDAS, a bioeconomic model of a dryland farm system’. (Eds RS Kingwell, DJ Pannell) pp. 64–73. (Pudoc: Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Pannell DJ, Malcolm LR, Kingwell RS (2000) Are we risking too much? Perspectives on risk in farm modelling. Agricultural Economics 23, 69–78.
| CrossRef |
Perry MW, Thorn CW, Rowland IC, MacNish GC, Toms WJ (1980) Pastures without grasses: a speculative look at farming in the 1980s Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 21, 103–109.
Pinstrup-Andersen P, Pandya-Lorch R (1998) Recent developments and emerging issues in world food security Choices 3rd quarter, 4–7.
Porter WM, Wilson IR (1984) Soil acidity in the eastern wheatbelt Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 25, 132–135.
Productivity Commission (1999) Impact of competition policy reforms on rural and regional Australia. Inquiry Report, Productivity Commission, Canberra, ACT.
Productivity Commission (2001) Harnessing private sector conservation of biodiversity. Commission Research Paper, AusInfo, Canberra, ACT.
Prout A. (1993) Saving the catchments of Albany’s harbours. Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 34, 137–140.
Samuelson PA (1967) A general proof that diversification pays. Journal of Financial Quantitative Analysis 2, 1–13.
Shields M, Wooden M (2003) Investigating the role of neighbourhood characteristics in determining life satisfaction. Working paper 24/2003, The Melbourne Institute, Melbourne, Vic.
Tweeten L (1998) Anticipating a tighter global food supply-demand balance in the 21st century Choices 3rd quarter, 8–12.
United Nations (2005).
Yeates JS, Deeley DM, Clarke MF, Allen D (1984) Modifying fertiliser practices Journal of Agriculture (Western Australia) 25, 87–91.