The value of Australia’s agriculture industry has reached a new high of $56 billion.
The 2015-16 figure, released on Friday as part of the Agricultural Census, represents a $3.1 billion rise and was driven by an increase in livestock values.
“Beef was again the largest contributor to this rise, despite fewer animals heading to the saleyards, with strong price rises both domestically and internationally,” the Bureau of Statistics director of agriculture statistics Lauren Binns said.
The most valuable crops were wheat ($6.2 billion), fruit, nuts and grapes ($5.6 billion) and vegetables ($3.6 billion).
But there was a mixed picture, with varying weather conditions impacting production.
Winter and spring rain in parts of NSW and Queensland helped deliver bumper barley crops, up six per cent.
But a warm, dry spring in southern Australia contributed to a five per cent fall in wheat.
Avocado production reached record levels in 2015-16 up 39 per cent to 67,600 tonnes, with more than 24,000 tonnes of extra mandarins.
But apple and pear crops were impacted by hail storms in Victoria during the year.
The number of farming businesses in Australia rose one per cent to more than 85,000, with farm sizes increasing slightly as well.
Families are remaining on the land, with the average number of years those surveyed involved in farming being 35.
The total volume of water used decreased by three per cent, but the total area watered nationally rose by four per cent.
More than 100,000 farm businesses contributed to the survey with the minimum size increased from those with an average turnover of $5000 to $40,000 or more.
The ABS says it significantly reduced the survey burden on small farming operations.