By Boyd Champness

SIXTY NINE percent of Australias broadacre farmers are tipped to make a business loss this financial year, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

In its annual farm surveys report, ABARE says 69% of Australian farmers will make a loss in 1998-99 – up from 65% last year – because of lower prices for grains, wool and, in some states, milk.

According to the survey, which was reported in the Stock and Land, the average broadacre farm can expect a cash income of A$46,800 (£18,800) – almost A$2000 less than last year.

This equates to a business loss of A$3900 (£1560) – almost double last years loss of A$2180 – when depreciation, changes in trading stock and family labour are taken into account.

It will be the seventh year in the past decade that the average broadacre farmer has been in the red, the newspaper reports.

Once again, woolgrowers are expected to be the hardest hit with average cash incomes of only A$12,700 and business losses of A$29,900.