Understanding the science behind agricultural productivity estimates 02 Mar 2011

Chair of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Professor Daniella Stehlik will today release a RIRDC report at the 2011 ABARES Outlook conference that will help the agricultural industry better understand the critical issue of productivity. 

Agricultural Productivity: concepts, measurements and factors driving it is a non-technical report prepared by ABARES designed to help people better understand the productivity estimates it produces, and also appreciate the driving forces of productivity. 

The study also looks at agricultural productivity trends, with a focus on the factors underlying changes in productivity estimates over time.

“Understanding, interpreting and communicating productivity data is an issue that affects everyone involved in the agriculture industry, including farmers, industry associations, policy makers and government,” said Simon Winter, RIRDC Senior Manager.  

“It’s essential therefore that there’s a shared understanding of the key factors underpinning the productivity estimates produced by ABARES.”

With statistics showing a decline in productivity growth rates for the agricultural sector over recent years, Mr Winter said the new RIRDC report was timely. 

“One of the most significant issues facing our nation’s farmers is the need to increase on farm productivity,” Mr Winter said. 

“It is vital to improving our internationally competitiveness, meeting growing demand from overseas, and improving the viability of the sector as a whole.

“External factors such as climate change, growing international demand for food, and the demands of complex international markets mean that we need to be continually looking for ways to turn new ideas, knowledge and technologies into efficiency improvements.   

“Increasing agricultural productivity is essential to the ongoing viability of the sector, but when it comes to understanding how agricultural productivity estimates are actually defined, measured and calculated, there are knowledge gaps across the industry.  This report will help to fill this void.”

Agricultural productivity: concepts, measurement and factors driving it, along with an associated RIRDC report on productivity published today From R&D to productivity growth are available on the RIRDC website