Farmers up to challenge

Farmers up to challenge

South Australia’s primary industries and agribusinesses continue to set the pace and deliver solid growth despite ongoing domestic and international pressures.

Last week’s release of the Primary Industries Scorecard 2022-23 illustrates the resilience of the sector despite pressures such as inflation and rising interest rates, the slow global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine to generate a revenue of $18.5b in 2022-23, an increase of 7% and accounting for 51% of the state’s merchandise exports.

Last year’s (2022-23) record grain harvest coupled with strong global commodity prices for grain, was the main driver of this increase with field crop revenue up 39% to $7.76b.

Other sectors to experience growth included forestry (5% to $1.46b) primarily attributed to the rise in the sale of wood products, while the dairy industry enjoyed a 34% increase in farmgate milk prices along with increased production and a rise in cheese exports.

The seafood sector also enjoyed a 5% increase in value to $508m, driven by price increases for southern rock lobsters (up by 8% to $53/kg) and southern bluefin tuna (up by 13% to $15.25/kg).

Wool also recorded an upswing of $549m in revenue, attributable to increases in export quantities and prices.

This growth led to a flow on effect that increased in the contribution of primary production activity (agriculture, forestry, and fishing) to the State’s economy (Gross State Product), up by 7% to $7.78b.

There was also a rise in the total employment for primary industries and associated processing, reaching an estimated 78,000 jobs (FTE).

With strong demand for additional workers continuing across many agricultural and processing sectors, attracting and training the workforce required for the future remains an important focus for the industry.

For the first time Indonesia surpassed China to become the largest export market for our agriculture and food exports.

Other markets to significantly increase included India (182%) and Thailand (131%).

Overall overseas exports of agriculture, food, wine, and forestry products increased by 18%, totalling $8.8b, a major contributor being grain exports which increased by 33% in value to reach $5.1b.

The Scorecard includes the revenue, sales, exports and gross value production of primary industry sectors and associated processing such as field crops, livestock, horticulture, wine, seafood, dairy, forestry, wool, skins, seeds, and animal feed.

To view the Scorecard results including the online interactive dashboard visit

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven welcomed the news.

“Primary industries and agribusinesses are vital to South Australia and a significant contributor to the state’s economy. Despite some ongoing challenges, these results clearly illustrate the sector’s resilience,” she said.

“This year’s record-breaking growth to $18.5b in agribusiness revenue is a testament to our state’s hard working primary producers and their families who continue to strengthen our economy whilst helping ensure South Australia’s produce is elevated on the global stage.”

Primary Producers SA chair Professor Simon Maddocks said the Primary Industries Scorecard for 2022-23 “speaks to the seasonal and market variability that producers and commodity sectors have to contend with year-on-year.”

“Notwithstanding many ongoing challenges for our sectors and the communities we serve, the scorecard again highlights the critical contribution our industries and regional SA make to the SA economy, providing more than 50% of the state’s merchandise exports, and with an economic contribution growing well above the CPI,” he said.

“PPSA is proud to represent our state’s farmers and champion the significant contribution they continue to make today, and for the future of South Australia.”

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