The Australian Farm Institute has a range of publications available for purchase. They include Farm Policy Journals, Research Reports, Newsletters and Occasional Papers.
A selection of our recent publications
The Summer 2016 edition of the Farm Policy Journal contains the two winning essays for the 2016 John Ralph essay competition, plus a selection of other meritorious entries. The topic of the essay competition this year was: Farm environmental stewardship programs are just subsidies in disguise and should not be adopted in Australia.
Australian farm businesses, unlike farm businesses internationally, continue to rely almost solely on bank debt as their main source of funding, and this reliance is likely to limit the future growth of the sector. The report explores trends in funding and business structures within Australian farming, and examines some of the alternatives to bank debt funding that will likely be required to support the future expansion of the sector.
Recent research reports from AEGIC examine the grains industry in Ukraine and Russia; main players in what is known as the Black Sea region. Also, Dr Peter Stahle (ADPF) and David Basham (ADF) answer questions about the dairy industry, following a very tumultuous year.(more)
Biosecurity is at the forefront of Australia’s success as an agricultural exporter. Australia has an enviable biosecurity record due to investment in research, development and biosecurity infrastructure. However, as agricultural trade barriers fall and tourism and travel increases, there is an increased risk of biosecurity breaches in Australia, and these could have a devastating economic impact.
Jaimie Lovell, NSW Farmers’ Association, and Roger Fletcher, Fletcher International Exports, give their views on the potential of inland rail. Biosecurity risks increase as Australian agriculture moves into premium markets, and beware the statistics in media reports on land clearing. (more)
Trade remains as crucial as ever to the agriculture sector in Australia. Many commodity sectors are strongly dependent on overseas markets and domestic producers continue to seek viable export options. The research, which is the subject of this report, seeks to identify enduring trends in overseas trade and provide guidance to agricultural policy-makers aiming to improve Australia’s agricultural trade performance.
Factors that affect the demand for, and hence the value of farm land are many and varied, and often poorly understood. Many farmers complain that land values are unsustainable relative to earning capacity, yet existing landholders are often the most aggressive purchasers of additional land. International and corporate investors often seem to place a higher value on farm land than existing landholders, but many question whether these investors ever generate viable returns.
The use of digital agriculture systems enables farmers to change from paddock and herd average management, to square metre and individual animal management, with reported subsequent increases in farm productivity. Gains of the order of 10% to 15% have been recorded in cropping systems.
David Williams and Tom Howard on the advantages and disadvantages of agricultural cooperatives; danger for agriculture when media can’t tell the difference between ‘advocacy science’ and ‘real science’; an absence of clear targets still hinders the work of many advocacy groups; and enhancing private-sector agricultural RD&E investment in Australia. (more)
A critical challenge for policy-makers and industry leaders is finding ways to reinvigorate innovation and productivity growth, in order for the Australian agriculture sector to remain internationally competitive.
Brent Finlay and John Connor see opportunity for Australian farmers from Paris Conference; the competitiveness of the Australian livestock export industry; research highlights trends in the use of private advisory services by Australian farmers; and productivity is put at risk when marketing values consumer whims over science. (more)
Contains the two winning entries from the 2015 John Ralph Essay Competition - plus a selection of other meritorious essays, from over 60 entries. This year's topic was: Australian agriculture should forget about the pursuit of productivity, and instead focus on premium markets.
Also, beef the big mover in Australian agricultural trade; be wary of simplistic indicators of ‘competitiveness’; judging the potential or pitfalls of digital agriculture for Australian farmers; and no case for zero tolerance in Marsh vs Baxter. (more)
One of the most perplexing paradoxes of modern life is that consumers will willingly ingest potent mixes of chemicals or submit to analysis by some of the most advanced technological instruments in order to sustain their health, yet baulk at the use of the same technology in the production of the food they consume.
Has the Murray-Darling Basin Plan delivered on its promises?; the optimal level of RD&E expenditure for the agriculture sector; and the role of a national brand play in the transition from a plain old commodity exporter to a more innovative consumer product exporter? (more)
A range of Australian industry experts address the different matters around farm workforce management
This research includes a review of national and international animal welfare science and policies. It also covers the current farm-animal welfare policy systems in Australia, including the main stakeholders and the principles which underpin this policy. Three case studies are discussed which expose the confusion and risks inherent in existing farm-animal welfare programs: live cattle exports; supermarket programs; and the role of the competition authority in defining farm-animal welfare in the egg industry.
Will 'Big Data' be the killer of family farming, or the key to its renaissance?
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had access to a seamless flow of information via the internet. Whether you worked in a metropolitan area or a remote farming region, the software or data needed to keep your business running efficiently could be downloaded quickly and affordably. (more)
This research aims to assess Australian agriculture’s recent trade performance, in order to gain a perspective of how competitive Australian agricultural products are in international and domestic markets, and just as importantly to assist in identifying factors or policies that may assist Australian agriculture to become more competitive in the future.
Drought policy has vexed Australian policy-makers and farmers for the past 100 years - yet despite seemingly backward steps, there are signs that drought policy reforms are slowly resulting in better outcomes... (more)
Proximity to markets and historical good fortune is no guarantee of future success for Australian agriculture. Entries discuss the need for a common national brand.
> Research reports: Optimising future extension systems in the Australian grains industry
Part 1: Background, literature and demographics of the Australian grain production sector
Part 2: The public and private sector grain advisory systems in Australia
Part 3: International grains extension models and future directions for the Australian grains industry extension system
While much of the focus in recent industry discussion about agriculture has been on the level of investment in research and development, there is now growing awareness that the extension function – the process of communicating research outcomes and encouraging the adoption of innovations – is also of critical importance in improving productivity growth rates.
According to scientists and environmental groups, current environmental policy settings in Australia are inadequate to prevent accelerating and irreparable damage to the environment. Perhaps it’s time to consider a radically different set of policies, and not more of the same.
Where Australian agriculture stands on the global agricultural competitiveness ranking table depends on how you measure competitiveness, and experts are yet to agree on a ranking system
Will a drought of funding be the biggest future challenge for Australian farmers? Christopher Pyne and Kim Carr on whether deregulated uni fees disadvantage agriculture; and eating less meat will not result in less greenhouse emissions, despite official emission accounting numbers
Can Australian agriculture really take advantage of growing Asian food demand if the Australian food processing sector continues to decline, and Australia is limited to exporting unprocessed agricultural commodities?
In this edition: Jackie Healing and Sharman Stone discuss country of origin labelling; will agriculture attract suitable future capital?; AFI is developing an Australian agricultural trade database; and the myth of the ageing farmer
A comparison of different advocacy groups in the world and in Australia, with a focus on farmers' advocacy groups and the best way they can address current issues
Barnaby Joyce and Joel Fitzgibbon provide opinions on the Agriculture White Paper – timely or time waster? Findings on the effectiveness of advocacy groups; FarmGAS calculator upgrades; and upcoming events
November Insights includes: an upgrade of the AFI FarmGAS Calculator in the pipeline; research examining agricultural advocacy in Australia; the launch of a Newsroom on the AFI website; and the Hon Brendon Grylls MLA and Senator Rachel Siewert examine northern Australia’s potential as a future food bowl.
> August Insights 2013: Australia risks missing a big livestock export and animal welfare opportunity
August Insights, finds opportunity for leadership from Australian livestock industries; explores ways for farm lobby groups to improve their effectiveness; and Bill Shorten and Eric Abetz discuss workplace relations and competitiveness in the food processing sector.
Read the most recent analysis on the future of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
May Insights explores the projected boom in Asian middle-class food demand, and examines CSG facility approvals; transparency in the retail food supply chain; and AFI plans for an online Australian agricultural trade portal.
Latest research and opinions on the relation between supermarkets and agriculture
Our February newsletter looks back on last year's ‘Australian Year of the Farmer’, and wonders whether marketers should focus on Aussie farmers or their products? The newsletter also looks at the future of agricultural extension.