Incomes to slide as dry continues

Gloomy news from the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics today.

Farmers incomes are about to slide back to where they were 10 years ago, thanks to widespread drought.

That's in ABARE's latest forecast, which is predicting that farmers will earn 60 per cent less than they did last year.

Commodity analyst Terry Sheales says production and export earnings are expected to be down for grain, livestock, dairy and sugar, and incomes will go backwards, to where they were in the early 1990s. “The second half of the nineties was pretty good for the farm sector in terms of its overall performance. Of course this drought is hitting pretty hard and we're coming off an exceptionally good year last year when incomes were very high.”

ABARE is also forecasting the drought will have a serious impact on the wider economy, reducing growth by .5 per cent, or almost $4 billion.