The severe drought in Australia is expected to cut farm exports by 13% this fiscal year, according to the government’s economic forecaster.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics has estimated that export earnings from farm products such as wheat, sheep and beef will drop to A$27.1bn (US$15.3bn) in the year ending 30 June 2003 from $30.6bn in the previous year.

“Dramatically lower crop plantings and yields are forecast to result in lower farm incomes in the cropping industries,” the economic forecaster was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.