Big crops, values lift Aus ag exports to record high: Rural Bank

Grain Central, September 12, 2023

Bales on their way to export. Photo: Queensland Cotton Corporation

RURAL Bank’s Australian Agricultural Exports Report 2022-23 has found that export values reached a record high in 2022-23 of $80 billion, up $12.5B from 2021-22, with gains in cropping, cotton, sugar and beef the major contributors..

In terms of export value by Australia’s states as derived from port data, Victoria maintained its position as number one in 2022-23, with Western Australia’s rapid rise in exports knocking New South Wales out of second place for the first time in five years.

“Growth in export value was primarily driven by rises in the value of broadacre crops and cotton, with consecutive years of record-setting crops and high commodity prices driving the extraordinary level of export value seen in 2022-23,” Rural Bank Head of Agribusiness Development Andrew Smith said.

“A particular bright spot was cotton exports which more than doubled in value to $4.9B, up $2.7B from the year before.

“Increased beef production helped drive a rise of $726 million in the value of cattle industry exports and sugar exports also added a further $650 million or 32 per cent on top of the strong rise recorded in 2021/22”, Mr Smith said.

The report also found that Australian agriculture did not diversify further into export markets for 2022-23 but managed to hold on to gains made in the prior two years.

Global appetite for Australian produce may be supported by a lower Australian dollar, notwithstanding consumers in key markets facing tougher economic conditions which are weighing on export prices and not expected to improve in the near-term.

Export value was almost 50 per cent above the five-year average, but the forecast for a smaller crop in 2023 and lower prices for most commodities will see export values return closer to average in 2023/4.

“The value of Australian agricultural exports in 2023/24 is forecast to fall below the records set in the past two years but will still be the third most valuable year on record. The anticipated decline will be primarily due to a reduction in crop area planted and yield, with current estimates suggesting a 34 per cent decline in winter crop production compared to last season.

China leads Asian demand

Australia’s top 13 export markets recorded year-on-year growth with the top 12 all achieving record highs, led by China, with Japan and the US retaining their places as Australian agriculture’s second and third most valuable markets.

 Top 10 export markets 2022-23

Export value A$ million YoY growth A$ million YoY growth Share of total export value
China $16,581  +$3,067 +22.7pc 20.8pc
Japan $6,393  +$283 +4.6pc 8.0pc
USA $5,636  +$451 +8.7pc 7.1pc
Vietnam $5,154  +$1,796 +53.5pc 6.5pc
South Korea $5,031  +$1,168 +30.2pc 6.3pc
Indonesia $4,777  +$1,073 +29.0pc 6.0pc
Philippines $2,514  +$561 +28.7pc 3.1pc
Thailand $2,432  +$1,030 +73.5pc 3.0pc
New Zealand $2,369  +$512 +27.6pc 3.0pc
UAE $2,131  +$556 +35.3pc 2.7pc

China was the largest growth market in dollar terms for the second year in a row.

“The value of exports to China rose $3.1B or almost 23pc in 2022-23 to a record high of $16.6B, led by a 66pc or $1.5B increase in wheat exports, and with beef, almonds and cotton also recording growth”, Mr Smith said.

“The substantial increase in the value of wheat exports helped to drive growth of over $1B or more across the Vietnamese, South Korean, Indonesian and Thailand markets with Vietnam recording the largest increase of more than 50pc to $1.8B, thanks to strong growth in both cotton and wheat exports.

Lifts for most states

Across the jurisdictions, only Tasmania and the Northern Territory saw a decline in export values in 2022-23.

Vic accounted for 24.2pc of the national agricultural export value, with crops, horticulture, and beef the major drivers of growth for Victorian exports in 2022-23.

WA’s agricultural export value hit a record $16.2B in 2022-23,driven primarily by crop exports which rose $3.6M, up 42.6pc year on yea, and growth in seafood, sheep, and beef exports further supported the state’s performance.

NSW also hit a record in 2022-23 with an agricultural export value of $13.4B, with crop and wool exports the major drivers.

Queensland retained its position as the fourth largest exporter in 2022-23, after falling from third place in 2020-2, and its export value was driven higher by strong crop and cattle industry exports, with cattle accounting for 57.1pc of the total figure.

Value by state 2022-23

Export value $A million YoY growth $A million
YoY growth


Share of total export value
VIC $18,673  +$1,343 +7.7pc 24.2pc
WA $16,193  +$4,036 +33.2pc 21.0pc
NSW $13,445  +$830 +6.6pc 17.4pc
QLD $12,452  +$1,878 +17.8pc 16.1pc
SA $8,894  +$1,443 +19.4pc 11.5pc
TAS $1,013 -$17 -1.6pc 1.3pc
NT $392 -$20 -5.0pc 0.5pc

South Australia’s agricultural export value eclipsed the record set in 2021-22, thanks largely to cropping exports, which lifted $1.4B, or 35.6pc, to $5.2B.

Wine remained SA’s second-largest export industry but saw a fourth consecutive year of decline in 2022-23.

Despite growth in seafood and horticulture exports from 2021-22, Tasmania’s agricultural exports fell in 2022-23, with the drop in dairy exports of 25.8pc, or $71.5M, the major contributor.

NT agricultural exports fell for a third consecutive year in 2022-23 to the lowest value seen since 2013-14, with cattle exports dropping $54.5M, or 13.5pc.

 More ups than downs by sector

Record production of most broadacre crops, and a new record average export price in 2022-23 are unlikely to be repeated in the current year, with forecast below-average rainfall expected to see the value of Australian cropping exports fall in 2023-24.

The value of Australian cattle-industry exports increased in 2022-23, driven by increased domestic production and stronger demand from China and the US.

Australian beef exports are expected to record a lift in value for 2023-24 due to further production growth and strong international demand, in particular from the US as its herd rebuild continues.

The value of Australian sheep-industry exports fell in 2022-23 because of weakened prices due to increased supply and softer consumer demand.

Australian sheep industry exports are expected to see a slight decline in value again in 2023-24, as increases in production will be offset by lower prices.

The value of Australian wool exports also fell, as weaker demand led to lower prices which more than offset an increase in export volume.

Wool exports are set to decline in value again in 2023-24 due to lower prices and a minor production decline.

Australian dairy export values fell in 2022-23 but were the third-highest value on record.

Strong export value was driven by record average export prices but characterised by reduced volumes.

Easing global prices, increased global production but high Australian farm gate milk prices will see Australian dairy export value decline in the 2023-24 season.

The value of Australian horticultural exports rose in 2022-23, primarily due to increased grape and nut exports and rising production volumes.

The uptrend is expected to continue this year based on strong production forecasts across key export varieties and improving quality.


Commodity exports 2022-23
Export value A$ million YoY growth A$ million YoY growth pc Share of total export value
Cropping $30,985 +$7,080 +29.6pc 38.8pc
Cattle $13,125 +$726 +5.9pc 16.4pc
Cotton $4,893 +$2,666 +119.7pc 6.1pc
Sheep $4,786 -$105 -2.1pc 6.0pc
Wool $3,196 -$74 -2.3pc 4.0pc
Dairy $3,075 -$97 -3.0pc 3.9pc
Sugar $2,675 +$650 +32.1pc 3.3pc
Wine $2,031 -$166 -7.5pc 2.5pc
Fruit $1,326 +$82 +6.6pc 1.7pc
Seafood $1,276 +$66 +5.4pc 1.6pc
Nuts $1,174 +$199 +20.4pc 1.5pc
Vegetables $282 -$3 -1.2pc 0.4pc
Miscellaneous $11,044 +$1,494 +15.6pc 13.8pc
TOTAL $79,867 +$12,520 +18.6pc

Rural Bank is a division of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited.

Source: Rural Bank


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Grain Central's news headlines emailed to you -