The Australian Wheat Board has asked its senior executives to take a 10% pay cut as part of a plan to cut costs due to the impact of the Australian drought.

Managing Director Andrew Lindberg has reportedly asked more than 50 staff earning more than A$100,000 (US$56,500) annually to take a voluntary pay cut next year. The company also plans to stop staff bonuses and temporarily stop hiring any more employees.

Earnings at AWB are expected to fall as a result of the worst drought in Australia in more than 20 years. Analysts have predicted AWB's net profit will fall to between $30m and $40m, well short of a $107m net profit for the financial year ended 30 September 2002, reported Dow Jones International.