Australia’s agriculture industry is a massive pillar in the country’s economy, with almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of the land across the country dedicated to farming, according to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

With almost 135,000 agriculture businesses across Australia, it is not surprising that reports of profit and production are usually a mixed bag.

News relating to the current season is no different. Due to a devastating drought in Australia’s east, the country has experienced a significant split in income.

Large-scale farmers in Western Australia can expect an average income of $317,000 in 2014 while Queensland agriculture business owners are anticipating a record low income of $39,000 this year, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The Agricultural commodities: March quarter 2014 report also shows South Australia has joined Western Australia on the top of the income report with farmers forecast to earn $231,000 this season – the highest result in more than 30 years.

This stark gulf between incomes has been attributed to favourable weather conditions in the west and a record winter grain production. The unpreventable factors behind these results also support the need for Australian stakeholders to ensure they invest in comprehensive crop insurance to protect against loss of income due to the perils of fire, hail and other insured events.

The farmers dealing in wheat should experience even higher growth this year as global wheat prices climbed to a new high this week. After increasing by more than 13 per cent this year, the price hit US692.75c per bushel on Monday (March 17).

However, this price increase is bittersweet news for some farmers. Dan Cooper, New South Wales Farmers’ grain committee chairman, explained local farmers need unseasonably wet weather to arrive soon or they’ll miss their planting window.

“The window is closing for planting. Stress levels are rising and a lot of people are doing their budgeting with no crop factored in,” he told Farm Weekly on March 18.

“Wheat could go to $500 a tonne but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t got any to sell.”