Australia's farm exports are forecast to drop by 3.2 percent this year, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) announced Tuesday.
Farming exports are expected to reach around 35.8 billion AU dollars (34.09 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013-14, a fall from the estimated 37 billion AU dollars (35.23 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012-13.
ABARES Executive Director Paul Morris said that although lower this year, farm export earnings are still forecast to be around 16. 3 percent higher than the average of 30.8 billion AU dollars (29. 33 billion U.S. dollars) over the five years leading up to 2011-12.
The forecast had been revised upwards from March figures by about 250 million AU dollars (238 million U.S. dollars), partly because of an assumed weakening of the Aussie dollar in 2013-14, said Morris.
Commodities expected to let down the export team include barley (down 7 percent), canola (a drop of 34 percent), wheat (by 4 percent), cotton and sugar (both 8 percent).
Partially offsetting these declines include expected earnings for wine (up 8 percent), beef and veal (5 percent) and dairy products (10 percent) -- all recently in demand by China's growing middle class.
Earnings from exported forest products are also predicted to increase by 6.3 percent to 2.2 billion AU dollars (2.09 billion U. S. dollars) in 2013-14 -- following an estimated decline of 5.5 percent to 2.1 billion AU dollars (1.99 U.S. dollars) in 2012-13.
Fisheries are also expected to make a comeback from a decline of about 3.7 percent in 2012-13 to 1.2 billion AU dollars (1.14 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013-14.
Today's figures were based on an Australian dollar assumed to average around 98 U.S. cents in 2013-14 -- down from 103 U.S. cents in 2012-13.
The forecast results follow Australia's highest-ever production season for cotton over 2011-12, and generally strong agricultural results across the board -- reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in May.