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Agriculture profits grow

28 June 2019

Operating profit for the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries combined increased $1.0 billion (up 22.1 percent) to $5.6 billion in the 2018 financial year, Stats NZ said today.

Food product manufacturing, and grocery, liquor, and tobacco product wholesaling, which are related to the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries, also had increased profits.

Growth in the primary industries reflects favourable seasonal factors and export prices over this period, as seen by increased exports of beef, lamb, dairy products, logs, and kiwifruit.

The largest contribution to the increase in primary industry operating profit came from sheep, beef cattle, and grain farming, which increased $0.44 billion (up 52.6 percent). This was driven by a $1 billion increase in sales, primarily due to improved export returns.

Led by price increases for dairy products, sales in the dairy industry increased $1.2 billion in 2018.

“After the downturn in 2016, operating profit for the dairy industry has continued to recover, but not back to the level seen in 2014,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said.

Forestry and logging had a significant operating profit increase of $0.39 billion (up 40.0 percent) in 2018. This reflects the increased exports, measured by both volumes and prices.

While the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry showed a large increase in operating profit in 2018, profit for some industries declined. Industries that had decreases included non-residential building construction (down 231.3 percent), and food and beverage services (down 7.7 percent).

The Business Performance Benchmarker app provides more insight, with key financial information for over 480 industries and financial ratio benchmarks for over 200 industries. Some industries included are kiwifruit growing, sheep farming, plumbing services, and takeaway food services. Drill-down to more detailed industry levels to compare your business with the industry benchmarks.

The annual enterprise survey (AES) is New Zealand’s most comprehensive source of financial statistics covering over 480,000 businesses. It provides annual information on the financial performance and financial position for industry groups operating in New Zealand.

Annual enterprise survey: 2018 financial year (provisional) has downloadable files in Excel and CSV format.

For customised data, email our Information Centre at

For more information about these statistics:

• Visit Annual enterprise survey: 2018 financial year (provisional)

• See Small businesses record sales of $153 billion in 2018

• See CSV files for download


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