Queensland Rural Debt Survey

Queensland's Rural Debt Survey ascertains the extent, nature and size of total rural indebtedness in Queensland as at 31 December 2021 and analyses the movement in rural debt since the previous 2019 survey.

About the report

Overtime, farmers and rural enterprises have financed debt through commercial credit providers, principally by the major trading banks and lending institutions including QRIDA. Rural businesses operate in a dynamic environment and debt levels continue to be impacted by many factors such as markets and weather.

QRIDA has delivered the 2021 Survey in collaboration with the Queensland Government Statistician's Office (QGSO) and with data from all the major rural lending institutions in Queensland.

This survey plays an important role in shaping government and industry policy relating to primary production enterprises in Queensland. The final report was tabled on August 19 2022 by the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, the Hon Mark Furner MP.

Legislation passed by the Queensland Parliament on 22 March 2017 requires QRIDA to undertake a rural debt survey in Queensland for the period January 2012 to December 2017, and subsequently every two years thereafter, subject to the establishment of a national rural debt survey.

Rural debt is defined as the total indebtedness of all farmers or rural enterprises throughout Queensland, where the servicing of the rural debt relies primarily on rural generated income.

Report summary

The December 2019 to December 2021 period has been a challenging time for Queensland’s primary industries. Dry conditions at the start of the period caused confidence levels to fall in many industries going into 2020.

As seasonal conditions improved over the period, pasture growth increased leading to higher stock retention and a rebuilding of herd numbers, crop production also improved with the increased rainfall and water allocations. Commodity and rural land prices rose over the period although this was accompanied by rises in input costs and supply chain disruptions.

Since the end of the survey period several flooding events have occurred across the state, the impact of this, along with the rise in interest rates, the conflict overseas and the aforementioned input cost rises and supply chain disruptions are yet to be fully realised and will be reported on in the 2023 Rural Debt Survey.

Rural Debt Survey Report

Download and view the 2021 Rural Debt Survey Report in full or as an overview here.

2021 Rural Debt Survey report headlines

$24.06 billion

Total debt, up 25.97% compared to 2019 ($19.10b)


Number of borrowers, down 5.05% compared to 2019 (18,232)

$1.39 million

Average debt per borrower, up 32.67% compared to 2019 ($1.05m)

Request a 2021 hard copy

Hard copies of the 2021 Rural Debt Survey or further information including digital versions of previous surveys can be requested by contacting QRIDA.



Last updated: 23 February 2024