Performance, Data & Insights 2021

PDI 2021 icon

Performance, Data & Insights

Executive Summary

The NSW primary industries sector achieved a remarkable recovery from the substantial challenges of the past three years to reach a record level of Gross Value of Production (GVP) estimated at $17.6 billion in 2020-21, or $20.9 billion in total primary industries Output when including hunting and recreational/charter fishing ac . This outstanding result was underpinned by a record winter crop across all state jurisdictions and an industry consistently capable of delivering safe, reputable and high-quality produce that is in demand in our local and global markets. Ultimately this resulted in an increase in GVP by 41% on 2018-19 levels, which not only delivered upon, but exceeded the NSW DPI’s strategic plan outcome of 29% growth in primary industries two years ahead of schedule. 77 Primary producers demonstrated impressive levels of business resilience after three prior years of extreme drought to quickly respond to the improved seasonal conditions, adapt to the current marketing environment, and capitalise on relatively strong commodity prices. Despite the record result, the year didn’t progress without its fair share of challenges, including:

  • COVID-19 impacts on a range of fronts such as volatile swings in consumer demand, supply chain constraints and labour supply issues;
  • extreme flooding events across the NSW coastal areas and some inland regions during February 2021, which affected a range of industries from fisheries, horticulture, and dairy among others;
  • mice plagues which impacted many grain production and fodder stocks, as well as farm households across northern, central and south western parts of NSW; and
  • increased trade tensions with China over the past 18 months, which as one of our largest trade partners, led to varying levels of trade impositions for Australian beef, barley, wine, cotton, rock lobsters and forestry products.

Cropping industries were the key beneficiary of the improved conditions, with many producers weighing up high restocking costs and difficulty obtaining stock with significant fallow land capacity, early rainfall, and firm grain prices. Winter plantings were above average, and timely in crop rainfall provided an additional boost with most crop yields into record territory. Extensive livestock industries continued the task of rebuilding herd and flock numbers after falling to historically low levels. Farm turnoff and production declined proportionally, however record prices underpinned by strong international demand provided support to overall livestock revenue.

The solid achievement in Output was mirrored by strong international demand from the sectors' export markets, which responded favourably to the improved domestic supply situation boosting NSW primary industries' exports to record levels of $6.6 billion. The biggest contributor to export returns were cropping commodities, namely wheat, canola, pulses, and coarse grains, which were able to revert to normal export trade flows following two seasons of drought induced grain import programs. Newly introduced trade impositions to China were offset by gains to other key markets including South East Asia and Europe.

Looking forward, the opportunities outweigh the challenges on the immediate horizon, beginning with another bumper winter crop harvest, closely followed by a forecast substantial summer crop which will benefit from higher water allocations. Red meat supply is expected to ramp up, supported by ongoing high livestock prices in the medium term, while the forestry and fisheries sectors continue to rebuild from the dual impacts of bushfires and coastal flooding events of prior years. The preliminary forecast for 2021-22 is for NSW GVP to reach $18.5 billion, or approximately 25% of the national GVP forecast. 83 9 If achieved this would indicate NSW’s contribution to delivering a national $100 billion primary industry sector by 2030 is on the right trajectory, setting a solid platform to build upon for the remaining target timeline. 163

NSW Primary Industries Output Estimates 2020-21

Industry Output (millions) % change y.o.y
Wheat $4,159 +541%
Cattle $2,490 -9%
Horticulture $2,031 0%
Sheepmeat $1,213 -11%
Poultry $855 +1%
Cotton $847 +383%
Oilseeds $844 +527%
Barley $769 +170%
Wool $745 -4%
Milk $659 +2%
Other Broadacre Crops $645 +1%
Forestry $524 -3%
Pulses $359 +527%
Eggs $268 +3%
Wine Grapes $255 +12%
Pork $236 -4%
Fisheries $202 +2%
Rice $184 +419%
Sorghum $158 +431%
Sugarcane $74 +13%
Honey & Beeswax $49 -6%
Goatmeat $8 -21%
Source: DPI (2021)