September 20, 2022

Inflation and soaring costs pose the biggest challenge to Australian farmers, ahead of weather conditions and labour shortages

Topic: Press Release, Special Poll
Finding No: 9066
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A special Roy Morgan Survey of Australian farmers shows that the biggest challenges currently facing Australian farmers are inflation and rising costs, weather, staffing issues, economic uncertainty and biosecurity.

More than a quarter (26%) of Australian farmers identified inflation and costs among their biggest current challenges while one in five (19%) mentioned the weather.

There were notable differences across Australian States and Territories, with weather the number one issue in the flood affected states of New South Wales and Queensland, and inflation and costs the number one issue elsewhere.

Another important challenge is staffing issues mentioned by 13% of farmers. Australia’s closed borders over the past two years have meant many of the young working holiday-makers from Europe, North America and elsewhere, that often spend time working on farms as part of their visa requirements, have not been able to enter the country until recently.

Economic insecurity was mentioned by just over one-in-ten farmers (11%) while biosecurity was also a key challenge faced by many farmers – with almost one in ten (9%) mentioning such things as pests, diseases and noxious weeds. Around a third of those who mentioned biosecurity concerns directly referred to the emerging threat of foot-and-mouth disease, with a recent outbreak in Indonesia, on Australia’s doorstop, first detected in May. The survey was conducted in June and July, not long after the threat was first detected.

Biggest farming challenges for Australian farmers

Source: Roy Morgan Farmer Agribusiness Survey 2022. Base: n = 1,230 Australian farmers aged 18+. Open-ended responses were analysed and coded into categories. Some responses mentioned multiple challenges and were coded into more than one category.

Some verbatim comments from Australian farmers regarding the biggest challenges they face including inflation/costs, weather, staffing issues, economic uncertainty & biosecurity:

‘Costs going up, interest rates rising, and the big divide between rural communities and city folks where it seems they make a lot of decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the rural people.’

‘It was drought and fire. Now it is rain and sodden pastures. Unable to move stock or sell stock because trucks cannot pick up the animals.’

‘Our biggest challenges have been the extreme weather conditions, from severe drought to torrential rainfall.’

‘Managing expenses and getting knowledgeable staff who have good understanding of working safely and without continuous supervision’

‘Input costs and availability of products. Government legislation and red tape - no understanding of the importance of the agricultural industry and industry's advancement in sustainable farming (climate change, live export etc).’

‘Possible economic downturn coupled with the foot and mouth disease scare in Indonesia.’

The results in the Roy Morgan Farmer Agribusiness Survey are based on 1,230 interviews with Australian farmers aged 18+ conducted online during June and July 2022. Farmers were asked, unprompted, what were the biggest farming challenges they were currently facing.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says:

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“Australia’s farmers have faced varying conditions over the past year and heading into the final months of 2022 the key issues emerging surround inflation and rising costs as well as the challenges posed by wild weather – and particularly in NSW and Queensland.

“More than a quarter (26%) of Australian farmers cited inflation and rising costs among their biggest current challenges – hardly surprising when considering Australia faces its highest level of inflation for over 20 years and the sharpest interest rate increases since 1994.

“The ‘wild weather’ along Australia’s east coast over the last year has hit farmers in NSW and Queensland hard and is the leading issue faced by farmers in both States. On this front there is also reason for concern with a third straight ‘La Nina’ predicted to occur in 2023, bringing with it increasing rainfall in much of the same areas that have been drenched over the last two years.

“On a macro scale, the Business Confidence of the Agriculture industry was flying high throughout much of the past year – averaging over 125 from August 2021 – May 2022. However, in recent months as concerns about inflation, rising costs, ‘wild weather’ and staffing issues have increased confidence has dropped off – averaging only 91.2 from June – August 2022.

“The challenges faced by Australia’s farmers, and the Agribusiness industry in general, are vitally important to Australia’s economic prosperity with products such as beef, other meats and wheat being among Australia’s largest export earners and the Agribusiness sector employing hundreds of thousands of people.”

For more details on trust and distrust in the Agribusiness industry, you can purchase our Roy Morgan Agribusiness Brand Trust Report here.

In July 2022, 1,230 Australian farmers completed Roy Morgan’s Farmer Agribusiness Brand Trust 2022 survey, providing insight into farmers’ perceptions of, and experiences with key agribusiness brands including trust and distrust. Farmers from a range of farms participated in the survey – Beef, Cropping, Sheep (meat), Sheep (wool), Horticulture, Dairy and other farm types, small farms to those over 25,000 hectares, annual revenue from under $100,000 to over $5 million.

The Farmer Agribusiness Brand Trust Report 2022 details insights into farmer perceptions of key agribusiness brands including:

  • Net Trust/Distrust Scores and rankings of around 60 agribusiness brands*
  • Which agribusiness brands farmers trust and distrust
  • Why farmers trust and distrust these brands
  • Performance on brand attributes (key brands only)
  • What are the factors that have the strongest influence on farmer trust in agribusiness brands
  • Which brands farmers have used, and would consider using
  • Which recent events have impacted farmers
  • What the biggest challenges are for farmers currently
  • Analysis overall, as well as by farm type, size, revenue and state.

The report includes an Executive Summary, charts, tables and commentary summarising key findings, with examples of reasons farmers trust and distrust specific brands, and their biggest challenges – in their own words.

*Agribusiness Brands, Products and Suppliers included (number of verbatim comments on reasons for trust or distrust):

4Farmers (11), AACo (64), Adama (65), Ag n Vet (57), AG Warehouse (23), AIRR (64), ANZ (223), Australian Wool Network (58), AWB (56), Baristoc (86), BASF (37), Bayer (129), CBH Group (57), Commonwealth Bank (557), Coopers (16), Corteva (39), CropSmart (20), CRT (115), CSBP (14), Dairy Australia (69), Dairy Farmers Group (58), Delta Agribusiness (15), EPG Seeds (5), Elders (1219), FMC (28), Fonterra (107), Gallagher (10), Graincorp (70), Incitec Pivot (132), Inghams (96), John Deere (26), Kenso (47), Landmark (35), Meat and Livestock Australia (74), Megafert (34), Monsanto (183), NAB (60), Norco (105), NRI (16), Nufarm (133), Nutrien (417), Ozcrop (52), Pacific Seeds (28), Pastoral Ag (19), Rabobank (107), Ridley (32), Rural Bank (69), Sipcam (41), Summit Fertilisers (33), Superfert (26), Syngenta (84), Titan Ag (31), UPL (57), Waratah (13), Wesfarmers (87), Westpac (568), Yarra International (19), Zoetis (19).

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2
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