Research Reports

Publication Date Project Title & Abstract Purchase
March 2014
Opportunities to Improve the Effectiveness of Australian Farmers' Advocacy Groups
Existing farm advocacy bodies in Australia are facing shrinking resources and loss of membership, and finding it harder and harder to sustain their organisations. The research detailed here is an attempt to examine some of the factors impacting on farm advocacy organisations in Australia, and in particular to identify options that may be available help those organisations develop business models that are more sustainable in the long term, and which provide them with the capacity to advocate strongly on behalf of the farmers of Australia.
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March 2013
Is Counting Farmers Harder than Counting Sheep? A Comparison of the Agricultural Statistical Systems of Australia, the United States and France
As has recently been observed for a range of different issues, agricultural statistical systems play a crucial role in informing policy and business decisions, and the absence of reliable statistics can result in considerable uncertainty and poor decision-making. The research report, Is counting farmers harder than counting sheep? A comparison of the agricultural statistical systems of Australia, the United States and France, involved a desktop study of the government agricultural statistical systems of Australia, the United States (US) and France.
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November 2012
Assessing the Opportunities for Achieving Future Productivity Growth in Australian Agriculture
While the need for productivity growth in Australian agriculture is well recognised, what is less clear is how that productivity growth might be achieved. The current ‘environment’ is not conducive to accelerated agricultural productivity growth, with declining real levels of investment in research and development, the progressive withdrawal of government services to agriculture, and increasing constraints on access to resources. Australian agriculture has a sound track record of innovation and superior productivity performance, and is not limited by some of the institutional and cultural constraints associated with the agricultural sectors of other developed nations.
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May 2012
Does Australia Need a National Policy to Preserve Agricultural Land?
Australia has the sixth largest land area and the lowest population density of almost any nation on earth, so the question of whether or not there will be sufficient good quality land available for agriculture in the future has not been a high priority issue for most of the past two hundred years. However, there are concerns that Australia is being too reckless with its best agricultural land, and future generations might regret currently decisions about its future use. This research finds that Australia currently lacks a consistent and comprehensive understanding of where this land is located, or how much of it is being diverted from agriculture each year.
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March 2012
Transport Costs for Australian Agriculture
This research shows that the available statistics estimating than transport only represents 4% of the total Australian agricultural output are a far cry from  reality. This research finds that from farm to foreign customer (delivered to the foreign port of entry of domestic central market), transport cost of Australia's agricultural products represent between 4% and 48.5% of the farmgate value, with an average of 8.75% for domestic delivery and 23.64% for international delivery. These results have been obtained through 12 different case studies and assess all costs incurred to different stakeholders in the supply chain (road freight, storage, handling, wharf fee, etc). These results demonstrate that for many products, particularly beef cattle and grain, transport costs are a major part of the total cost to produce and deliver the product to its destination. 
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May 2011
Private Sector Investment in Agricultural R&D in Australia
A key driver of agricultural productivity growth is agricultural research and development (R&D) investment, but trends over recent decades indicate that public agricultural R&D investment levels are declining in real terms. There has been some suggestion that the private sector will increase agricultural R&D investment and become more important as a driver of agricultural productivity, but surprisingly little is known about private sector agricultural R&D investment trends, especially in a country such as Australia which has a relatively small and somewhat unique agricultural sector. This research investigates these issues through desktop research and an industry survey.
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October 2010
The Implications of Greenhouse Mitigation Policies on the Demand for Agricultural Land
This report provides a compelling review of the existing research and results regarding the possible impacts of carbon sink forestry. The topics covered are: the current scale and rate of land use change; models of potential agricultural land use changes arising from greenhouse mitigation policies; potential impacts of carbon sink plantation developments; and carbon sink plantation approval processes. This report constitutes a needed reference for any further research on the topic and outlines the need of consistent policies and approval processes.
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June 2010
Towards a Better Understanding of Current and Future Human Resource Needs of Australian Agriculture
This research aims to shed light on the labour situation in Australian agriculture and to identify actions that could be taken to improve it. The research, jointly funded by Horticulture Australia Limited, AgriFood Skills Australia and the Institute, involved a detailed examination of labour demand and supply statistics for the agriculture sector, an industry survey, and the development of future labour and demand supply scenarios over the next decade.
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June 2010
Making Decisions About Environmental Water Allocations
There are major changes underway in the management of water in Australia, with one of the most significant being the ownership of water entitlements by the environment. When announced water buyback programs are completed and promised water infrastructure investments are implemented, the environment will be the sole largest holder of water entitlements in Australia. This research was initiated by the Australian Farm Institute to identify and discuss some preferred options for the future management of environmental water in Australia
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December 2009
Agriculture, Greenhouse and Emissions Trading Conference, 6 & 7 May 2009: Proceedings
The 2009 AGET conference took place on the 6th & 7th of May 2009 in Maroochydore, thanks to the sponsorship of the National Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industry (CCRSPI).
This report includes the speaker's presentations and panel discussion transcripts. It covers the topics related to climate change and agriculture especially in Australia after the publication of the White Paper of the CPRS in December 2008.
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November 2009
Essential Services in Urban and Regional Australia – A Quantitative Comparison
This research has for the first time quantified the extra costs faced by Australia’s non-metropolitan residents in accessing essential government services, and highlighted the need to find better ways to deliver essential services in regional Australia. The research, commissioned by the Australian Farm Institute and carried out by the National Institute of Industry and Economic Research (NIEIR), used census and other objective data to calculate the costs faced by all Australian residents in accessing essential services such as doctors, hospitals, schools, TAFE colleges and universities. These costs were then compared between metropolitan, urban and rural residents.
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September 2009
The Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme – An Introduction for Farmers and Agribusiness
The Australian Government is currently in the process of enacting legislation to introduce a greenhouse emissions trading scheme for Australia. The scheme, named the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) will have important implications for farmers and agribusiness; in fact much more important implications than climate change itself over the next few decades. This guide provides an easy to understand explanation of how emissions trading works, and what it means for agriculture.
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February 2009 Some Impacts on Agriculture of an Australian Emissions Trading Scheme
Under current Kyoto Protocol accounting conventions, agriculture is a major greenhouse gas emitter. If covered by an ETS, agriculture will face a significant cost impost through the need to purchase permits corresponding to its emissions. Agriculture will be affected both indirectly – through its use of energy based inputs – and directly through the possibility that it will be covered by the scheme. For these reasons, this research report provides critical and timely information that will assist the farm sector and policy-makers in future decision-making processes relating to this most challenging issue.
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September 2008 Preliminary Modelling of the Farm-Level Impacts of the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Trading Scheme
One of the biggest challenges in making decisions about future climate change policies for agriculture is the great uncertainty surrounding future technological developments to mitigate greenhouse emissions. Will new technologies suddenly emerge that dramatically reduce agricultures emission profile? Will new clean energy sources quickly develop? To what extent will the unleashing of market forces (via an Emissions Trading Scheme) accelerate these changes? 
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September 2008 Preliminary Modelling of the Farm-Level Impacts of the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Trading Scheme
One of the biggest challenges in making decisions about future climate change policies for agriculture is the great uncertainty surrounding future technological developments to mitigate greenhouse emissions. Will new technologies suddenly emerge that dramatically reduce agricultures emission profile? Will new clean energy sources quickly develop? To what extent will the unleashing of market forces (via an Emissions Trading Scheme) accelerate these changes? The answers to these questions will become evident at some stage in the future, but cannot be predicted or modelled with any certainty.
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July 2008 Estimating the Value of Environmental Services Provided by Australian Farmers
For some time the Australian agricultural sector has been subject to considerable public criticism about the impact of some industry practices on the environment. Issues of concern have included loss of biodiversity, diminishing water quality, reduced water availability, and increased soil erosion and salinisation.
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October 2007 The Implications for Australian Agriculture of Changing Demand for Animal Protein in Asia
The Australian Farm Institute, in conjunction with the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC), carried out research to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities arising from changing diets in Asia.
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July 2007 Developing a Good Regulatory Practice Model for Environmental Regulations Impacting on Farmers
For Australian farmers, who are increasingly operating in global markets where competitor products are always less than 24 hours away, the need to retain competitiveness is acute, and the impact on competitiveness of poorly designed and implemented regulatory measures can mean the difference between success and failure.
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June 2007 The New Challenge for Australian Agriculture: How do you Muster a Paddock of Carbon?
National and international policy responses to human-induced climate change present Australian agriculture with both threats and opportunities. The future success of agriculture in Australia will depend very much on how adequately the sector positions itself in responding to this issue.
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March 2007 Productivity Growth in Australian Agriculture: Trends, Sources, Performance
Productivity growth has long been recognised as a very important factor in the continuing ability of Australian farmers to remain profitable and competitive, in spite of the long-term decline in real returns for agricultural products. Yet, despite strong recognition of its importance, the factors that contribute to increased rates of productivity growth are not well understood, nor are they easily quantified.
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October 2006 Enhancing the Customer Focus of Australian Agriculture
Two significant trends are evident in global agricultural markets. The first is the steadily increasing agricultural output of developing nations around the world. A second trend is the rapid growth that has occurred in sales of higher value produce, especially in wealthy markets.
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April 2006 Vertical Contracting and Australian Agriculture: Implications for Farmers and Policy-Makers
Marketing systems for agricultural produce have historically been the subject of a great deal of analysis and policy intervention. The current debate about the merits and shortcomings of vertical contract marketing systems for Australian farmers suggests that the issue is by no means settled.
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October 2005 Agricultural Development in Argentina and Brazil: Emerging Trends and Implications for Australian Agriculture
Australian agriculture has traditionally had a relatively high level of reliance on export markets, and the emergence of Argentina and Brazil as substantial and competing agricultural exporters over the past decade is a significant development that requires careful analysis.
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August 2005 The Australian Farm Sector: Analysis of Current Demographic Trends and Future Farm Policy Implications
The Australian farm sector is becoming more diversified, Australian farm businesses are steadily increasing in size and decreasing in number, and in future the sector will rely on more efficient use of land, water and human resources, and on finding ways to enhance the value of farm outputs, to achieve real growth in profitability.
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March 2005 Australia's Farm-Dependent Economy: Analysis of the Role of Agriculture in the Australian Economy
In 2003-04 the Agricultural Sector accounted for 3.2% of GDP in Australia, based on the farmgate value of farm produce. However, the economic contribution that agriculture makes in the Australian economy extends well beyond the farmgate value.
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