SA’s Agribusiness hits $18.5bn record amid global challenges

This 7% increase in revenue underscores the sector’s vital role, contributing to over half of the state’s merchandise exports despite facing persistent domestic and international challenges.

South Australia’s primary industries and agribusiness sectors have once again demonstrated remarkable resilience, achieving a record-breaking revenue of $18.5 billion for the 2022-23 period.

This 7% increase in revenue underscores the sector’s vital role, contributing to over half of the state’s merchandise exports despite facing persistent domestic and international challenges.

The impressive figures, highlighted in the recently released Primary Industries Scorecard 2022-23, reflect the industry’s strength amidst inflation, rising interest rates, the slow global recovery post-COVID-19, and ongoing geopolitical tensions, including the war in Ukraine.

A significant factor behind this growth was last year’s record grain harvest, buoyed by robust global commodity prices. Field crop revenue saw a staggering 39% increase, reaching $7.76 billion. Other sectors also saw notable growth; the forestry industry grew by 5% to $1.46 billion, largely due to increased wood product sales.

Meanwhile, the dairy sector enjoyed a 34% surge in farmgate milk prices, enhanced production, and a rise in cheese exports. The seafood industry wasn’t left behind either, marking a 5% increase to $508 million, with notable price hikes for southern rock lobsters and southern bluefin tuna. Wool revenue also climbed to $549 million, thanks to higher export quantities and prices.

This upward trajectory significantly boosted the state’s economy, with the gross state product from primary production activities (agriculture, forestry, and fishing) rising by 7% to $7.78 billion.

Employment in primary industries and associated processing hit an estimated 78,000 full-time jobs, underscoring a strong demand for workers across various sectors.

In a notable shift, Indonesia overtook China as the largest export market for South Australian agriculture and food exports. Other markets like India and Thailand also saw substantial increases.

Overall, overseas exports of agriculture, food, wine, and forestry products jumped by 18%, totaling $8.8 billion, with grain exports alone increasing by 33% in value to reach $5.1 billion.

The Primary Industries Scorecard offers an in-depth look at the revenue, sales, exports, and gross value production across various sectors, including field crops, livestock, horticulture, wine, seafood, dairy, and more. It serves as a testament to the sector’s endurance and innovation in the face of adversity.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven said ‘Primary industries and agribusinesses are vital to South Australia and a significant contributor to the state’s economy. Despite some ongoing challenges, these results clearly illustrate the sector’s resilience.’ 

‘This year’s record-breaking growth to $18.5 billion dollars in agribusiness revenue is a testament to our state’s hard working primary producers and their families who continue to strengthen our economy whilst helping ensure South Australia’s produce is elevated on the global stage.’

Professor Simon Maddocks, Chair Primary Producers SA, said ‘The Primary Industries Scorecard for 2022-23 speaks to the seasonal and market variability that producers and commodity sectors have to contend with year-on-year.’

‘Notwithstanding many ongoing challenges for our sectors and the communities we serve, the scorecard again highlights the critical contribution our industries and regional SA make to the SA economy, providing more than 50% of the state’s merchandise exports, and with an economic contribution growing well above the CPI.’

‘PPSA is proud to represent our state’s farmers and champion the significant contribution they continue to make today, and for the future of South Australia.’

For more detailed insights and to explore the online interactive dashboard, visit

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