With the summer weather starting to warm up, many Australian homes are being sold off in the final weeks before the long winter months.
The latest figures from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources show a record 9.7 million people visited the country’s farmlands in the September quarter of 2018, up 20 per cent on the same period last year.
Key points:There were 3.2 million visits in September 2017The figure is down slightly on the 5.6 million people in 2018The government has been trying to attract more visitors in the months before the holidaysThe total number of visits to the country has increased in every major sector, from dairy to meat to poultry and the like.
Key stats from the department show:Farmers have been trying their best to stay warm by stocking up on hot weather supplies to attract visitors.
While it’s hard to see the figures as indicative of an economic recovery, they do point to the growing interest in the country by people who have not been spending much time in Australia in recent years.
Farmers say they’re struggling to cope with the influx of visitors.
“We’re seeing an increase in the number of people that are wanting to come and have a go,” said farmer Mark Thompson from the Adelaide Hills.
“The last time we were this large, there was a peak in January and February of 2019.
This time around it’s been really hard to get that same amount of people in.”
Mr Thompson says he has been selling off his stock of milk and meat at a loss for the last year, but he’s hopeful the number will recover.
“It’s definitely something we need to get out of the way, that’s the biggest thing, because we’re seeing more and more people coming here in the winter months,” he said.
“People are coming in in the summertime, it’s just been very difficult for us to do that.”
He says his farmers have been selling their stock at a profit, but that the number has decreased since last year’s peak.
“At the end of the year, the average sale price was $10,000, but we’re down to $6,000 now,” he told 7.30.
“Our stock is down $4,000 to $3,000.”‘
A huge boost’ for the industry, says Dr HarkerThe Department of Agricultural and Water Research says that the popularity of farmland tourism in Australia has increased markedly in recent months.
“Tourism to farmland is on the rise,” the report said.
“Farmland tourism is increasing with a strong emphasis on Australia’s iconic farms, with many of the nation’s best-known farms offering a wide range of seasonal and cultural offerings.”
The department says the numbers have also been influenced by increased tourist spending in the previous two months.
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