Since 2007 ABARES has conducted an annual survey of vegetable growing farm businesses. These surveys provide comprehensive information on the physical and financial characteristics of vegetable growing farms in each state. This report contains results from the ABARES survey of vegetable growing farms conducted from March to May 2015, which collected data on the characteristics of vegetable farms in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
• Between 2005-06 and 2013-14, the estimated average farm cash income of Australian vegetable growers remained relatively constant. Over this period, increased estimated average total cash receipts were matched by increased estimated average total cash costs. This reflects an increase in the size of vegetable growing farms and a shift towards high-value, high-cost vegetable crops.
• In 2014-15 (the most recent survey year) average farm cash income of Australian vegetable growing farms is estimated to have remained largely unchanged at around $186 000 a farm. In real terms, estimated average farm cash income increased or remained similar to 2013-14 across most states. The exception was Western Australia, where production was lost at farms around Carnarvon as a result of Cyclone Olwyn in March.
• The average rate of return to farm capital of Australian vegetable growing farms remained steady between 2013-14 and 2014-15 at 2.6 per cent. Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, the estimated average rate of return on capital (excluding capital appreciation) across Australian vegetable growing farms was higher than the grains, dairy and broadacre livestock industries surveyed by ABARES. However, between 2010-11 and 2013-14, rates of return (excluding capital appreciation) across Australian vegetable growing farms declined.
• Around 34 per cent of Australian vegetable growing farms reduced overall farm debt in 2013-14, mostly as a result of a cash flow surplus (that is, profit). In comparison, 24 per cent of farms increased debt--mostly for the purpose of purchasing land.