Australia’s total commodity export earnings are forecast to rise over 7% to a record $134bn (US$99.67bn) in 2006-07.

Australia’s peak agricultural forecaster, ABARE, released the figure at its annual Outlook conference this week.

ABARE executive director, Dr Brian Fisher, said increased exports of grains, oilseeds and iron ore would cause boosted returns.

In the short term, overall export earnings are forecast to rise by 1.4% for wheat, rice, barley, sugar, wine, lamb, live sheep, live cattle and dairy products.

This will be followed by a 1.7% decline for farm produce in 2006-07 when sharp falls are expected for Australian rice, cotton and livestock products.

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The conference also heard higher grain prices will lower returns for beef producers. About 40% of Australian export cattle are reared on grain.

The domestic sale yard price will dip 9% to 295c/kg (183 euro) by 2006-07, ABARE predicts.