Climate change has reduced Australian farms’ average annual profitability by 22%, or around $18,600 per farm, in the past two decades, according to the agriculture department.
In a report released on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences has found that since 2000 changes in climate have reduced the revenue of Australian cropping farms by a total of $1.1bn a year.
The report notes that average temperatures increased by about one degree Celsius since 1950 and compares Australia’s climate over the period 2000 to 2019 with the period from 1950 to 1999 by holding other variables, including farm output and commodity prices, constant.
Abares, the Department of Agriculture’s science and economics research division, has developed a statistical model called farmpredict using data from 40,000 farm observations to simulate differences in more than 50 physical and financial farm variables.
Since 2000, climate change has had a negative effect on the profitability of broadacre farms in Australia.Only Northern Territory farms improved profitability, up 8.7%, with massive cuts to profit in Victoria (–37.1%), Western Australia (-25.8%) and New South Wales (-25.5%) attributed to climate change.
Cropping farms were the worst hit, with revenue down 8% or around $82,000 a farm, and a 35% reduction in profits, or $70,900 for a typical cropping farm.
Report co-author David Galeano said adaptation to climate variability “is certainly helping” – and without it farms would have experienced a 26% reduction in profit, and cropping farms’ profits would be down 49%.
Sheep farms experienced an 18.2% reduction in average annual profit, or $6,100 per farm.
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