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Trends in Australian Agriculture


  • Productivity Commission



This research paper examines some of the key trends in Australia’s agriculture sector over the last 20 years or so. While continuing to grow in absolute terms, the size and importance of agriculture has declined relative to the rest of the economy. Within the sector, there have been marked changes in the number and size of Australian farms, the make-up of agricultural activities and the production and marketing strategies employed by farmers. Some of the key factors shaping these trends have been changes in consumer demands and government policies, technological advances and innovation and emerging environmental concerns. The unrelenting decline in the sector’s terms of trade (that is, the ratio of prices received to prices paid) has been an important source of pressure for adaptation and change by Australian farmers. The sector has also had to respond to the continuing challenge of variations in seasonal conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Productivity Commission, 2005. "Trends in Australian Agriculture," Research Papers 0502, Productivity Commission, Government of Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:prodrp:0502

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peterson, Deborah C. & Dwyer, Gavan & Appels, David & Fry, Jane, 2004. "Modelling Water Trade in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin," Staff Working Papers 31925, Productivity Commission.
    2. Geoff Edwards, 2003. "The story of deregulation in the dairy industry," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 47(1), pages 75-98, March.
    3. Tim J. Coelli & D. S. Prasada Rao, 2005. "Total factor productivity growth in agriculture: a Malmquist index analysis of 93 countries, 1980-2000," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(s1), pages 115-134, January.
    4. Dixon, Peter B & Menon, Jayant, 1997. "Measures of Intra-industry Trade as Indicators of Factor Market Disruption," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(222), pages 233-237, September.
    5. Bradley, Rebecca & Gans, Joshua S, 1998. "Growth in Australian Cities," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(226), pages 266-278, September.
    6. Edwards, Geoff W., 2003. "The story of deregulation in the dairy industry," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 47(1), March.
    7. Philippa Dee & Kevin Hanslow, 2002. "Multilateral liberalisation of services trade," International Trade 0207002, EconWPA.
    8. Martin, Will & Mitra, Devashish, 2001. "Productivity Growth and Convergence in Agriculture versus Manufacturing," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 403-422, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lawes, R.A. & Kingwell, R.S., 2012. "A longitudinal examination of business performance indicators for drought-affected farms," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 94-101.
    2. McFarlane, Jim A. & Blackwell, Boyd D. & Mounter, Stuart W. & Grant, Bligh J., 2016. "From agriculture to mining: The changing economic base of a rural economy and implications for development," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 56-65.
    3. Kym Anderson & Peter Lloyd & Donald Maclaren, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Australia Since World War II," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(263), pages 461-482, December.
    4. Anderson, Kym & Lattimore, Ralph G. & Lloyd, Peter J. & MacLaren, Donald, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Australia and New Zealand," 2007 Conference (51st), February 13-16, 2007, Queenstown, New Zealand 10407, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    5. Mullen, John & Keogh, Mick, 2013. "The Future Productivity and Competitiveness Challenge for Australian Agriculture," 2013 Conference (57th), February 5-8, 2013, Sydney, Australia 152170, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    6. Stewart, Fraser & Kragt, Marit & Gibson, Fiona, 2015. "Farmers’ perceptions of foreign investment in Western Australian broadacre agriculture," Working Papers 198540, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

    More about this item


    Australia; Research; Agricultural policy; Agriculture; Climate; Crops; Domestic markets; Employees; Employers; Employment; Exports; Farming; Free trade; Free trade Fruit; Grains; Horticulture; Imports; Industry assistance; International markets; International trade; Labour; Livestock; Land management; Meat and meat products; Multilateral agreements; Pasture; Primary industry; Productivity; Standard of living; Trade; Trade policy; Vegetables; Wholesale trade; Work organisation; Working conditions;

    JEL classification:

    • D - Microeconomics
    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics
    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • R - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics


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