With a total area of 445 million hectares committed to all types of agriculture in Australia, the gross value of farm production is forecast to reach a new record of $63.18 billion in 2016/17 financial year.
It’s clear that the impact of agriculture on the Australian economy is huge, and it is important to anticipate larger trends that are going to re-shape the market.

Here’s a list of the 5 megatrends shaping Australian Agriculture:
1. Climate

The climatologists tell us the country is getting hotter , approximately 1 degree on average across the country since 1910 (as per figure 1 from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)).
Australia's mean temperature Figure 1. Australia’s mean temperature increase since 1910, BOM
Australia's total rainfall trend map Figure 2. Australia’s total rainfall Trend map (1970-2015, mm/10 yr), BOM

Total rainfall trends are also generally increasing in the North-West and a few other pockets but decreasing elsewhere (see the bureau’s website under the menu ‘’climate variability and change’’ for rainfall trends across the four seasons to see seasonal trends affecting sowing times, in crop rainfall, harvest etc. given these trends may be more relevant to you).
With increasing temperature and diminished rainfall reducing potential plant yields, it’s a credit to growers that outputs are still increasing.

2. Changing ownership structure and increasing farm sizes

According to Land Commodities from 2005-06 to 2009-10 the total number of agricultural enterprises decreased by 13% from 154,000 to 134,000; as 20,000 smaller farms were absorbed by their larger counterparts . This land aggregation has allowed greater economies of size as the owner has been able to achieve volume discounts on inputs and also produce more with his/her labour using larger/more specialized machinery (driving down average costs per unit of production). The trick is to not overcapitalize on machinery, hence the prevalence of contract harvesters or contractors in general. The flipside can be a loss in flexibility in timing of operations as well the need to enforce biosecurity protocols regarding weeds, pests and diseases.

3. New technologies

Broadacre farming has seen the greatest adoption of precision agriculture (PA). Things started off with GPS guidance of spraying/sowing etc. and moved forward into yield mapping at harvest and onto electromagnetic conductivity surveys.
Attention is now also being given to the use of in crop sensors such as Greenseeker, OptRx and CropSpec to determine crop biomass and colour in order to vary fertiliser inputs during the growing season. The benefits of PA are certainly not limited to broadacre with increasing levels of adoption in crops like sugarcane, bananas, as well as other tree and vine crops.
Improvements in solar panels and battery storage by companies like Tesla, Evergen etc. will eventually see electricity costs off grid become cheaper than that from coal-fired power stations which will be of great benefit for those involved in large scale irrigation. According to the Climate Council this situation already exists in northern locations with high sunshine hours.
Vertical farming is taking off where land resources are very scarce such as in highly populated places like Singapore, but this may also be a fit for Australia as a means of conserving resources like water and nutrients. Some growers are using a symbiotic system with edible fish (aquaponics) whereby the fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, there are also hydroponic and bioponic techniques used.
Aquaponics Figure 3. Aquaponics

4. Changing consumption/Increasing customer awareness

With the eve