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WA farm profits fall despite record yield

Low prices and severe frost have cut into Western Australia's farming profits, which fell despite a record grain haul.

The annual Planfarm Bankwest Benchmarks report analysed data from 550 broadacre farming businesses and found the average farmer made an operating surplus of $667,816, down from $680,227 in the 12 months to February.

A large global supply of grains caused industry return on capital to fall from 4.7 per cent to 4.2 per cent in the same period.

"In 2016, production was widely expected to be among the highest in many grower's experience," Bankwest State Manager WA, for rural and regional banking, Richard Bator said.

But frost damage to crops in the southern-inland region put a dent in profits despite a record 16.6 million tonne wheat harvest.

The frost was a "one in a 10-year event", Wheatbelt farmer Ron Creagh said.

Farmers also had to contend with a fall in domestic grain prices of 10 per cent due to four years of record growth in global wheat harvests and stocks.

And the 2017 growing season has also been tough with farms needing late rain, Mr Creagh said.

However, a report released on Friday by the Grain Industry Association of WA found production estimates for all crops have increased by more than five per cent from September, with overall estimates up by 12.4 per cent on the back of rain and cooler conditions ideal for grain fill.

Total production estimates for the 2017 season are expected to hit 11.5 million tonnes by the end of the season.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development predicts a weak preference to drier than average conditions for October to December while temperatures are likely to be slightly above average.