Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report – 1961 Rural Credits Department

In carrying out its function of making seasonal advances to marketing boards and co-operative associations to assist in the processing and marketing of primary produce, the Department's outstanding advances rose to a record level of £122 million in April, 1961. Peak advances in 1959/60 were £97 million in March, 1960. The increase was mainly attributable to the record wheat and barley harvests. The wheat crop was 271 million bushels (199 million bushels in 1959/60 and 215 million in 1958/59) and barley production was 65 million bushels (34 million bushels in 1959/60, 63 million in 1958/59).

These large advances made by the Department at concessional interest rates enabled its customers to pay in advance to primary producers a substantial proportion of the ultimate proceeds from the sale of their product on local or overseas markets. Advances were made to finance the marketing of a wide range of commodities, including the main types of grain, dairy produce, cotton, peanuts, tobacco, canning fruits, dried fruits, meat, eggs, sugar, fertilisers and also copra from New Guinea.

By 30th June outstanding advances had fallen to £82 million, compared with £75 million at the end of June, 1960. Despite that the peak occurred one month later than last year, a greater run-down in advances is evident to 30th June in 1960/61 than in the previous year; this was primarily due to substantially increased exports of wheat and barley.

Profits for the year amounted to £434,134 and, as in the past, were distributed in equal proportions to the Department's Reserve Fund and the Rural Credits Development Fund.

During the year, grants totalling £174,008 were made from the Development Fund to assist organisations engaged in research and extension work for the promotion of primary production. The organisations included universities, research institutes and committees and the junior farmer movements. Projects supported included research into brown rot in canning fruits, small dam construction, pasture improvement, sheep and cattle physiology, cereal rust, soil fertility, fruit fly and poultry nutrition.

Grants from the Development Fund since its inception in 1925 now total almost £1,500,000.