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Agricultural Commodities, Australia

Statistics on the production of agricultural commodities including cereal and broadacre crops, fruit and vegetables and livestock on Australian farms

Reference period
2017 - 2018
Released
30/04/2019

Key statistics

  • There were 85,000 agricultural businesses (down 3% from June 2017).
  • There were 378 million hectares of agricultural land (down 4%).
  • 75 million tonnes of broadacre crops were produced (down 22%). ​​​​​​
  • this covered 24 million hectares (down 8% from 2016-17).

Australian farms and farmers

As at 30 June 2018 there were 85,000 agricultural businesses (down 3% from June 2017) and 378 million hectares of agricultural land (down 4%).

Australian farmers

In 2017-18 the average Australian farmer was:

  •  57 years of age
  •  male (more than two-thirds of farmers were male (77%)), and had
  •  37 years experience in farming
     
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Sources of farm income

Australian farming businesses received most of their income from agricultural production in 2017-18:

  •  85% of income was from agricultural production
  •  11% was from off farm employment or business activities
  •  0.6% was from grants, government transfers and relief funding
     

Land use on Australian farms

Most agricultural land was used for agricultural production in 2017-18:

  •  328 million hectares were used for grazing
  •  31 million hectares for crops
  •  731,000 hectares for forestry plantation
  •  17 million hectares was not used for agricultural production, with half (50%) of this land set aside for conservation/protection purposes.

Broadacre crops

Broadacre crop production fell in 2017-18, following record breaking levels in 2016-17, but remains at its second highest level since 2012. Reduced production was reported for most broadacre crops. Cotton was an exception with a 23% increase in production on the previous season.

In 2017-18 there were:

  • 75 million tonnes of broadacre crops produced (down 22%)
  • 24 million hectares planted (down 8%)
     

Key broadacre crops:

  • Wheat (21 million tonnes, down 34%)
  • Barley (9 million tonnes, down 31%)
  • Canola (4 million tonnes, down 10%)
  • Sorghum (1 million tonnes, up 26%)
  • Oats (1 million tonnes, down 46%)
  • Cotton (950 thousand tonnes, up 23%)
     
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Fruit, nuts and vegetables

It was a mixed season for fruit, nuts and vegetables in 2017-18. Reduced production was reported for most fruit, nuts and grapes except citrus and stone fruit. Localised weather events affected vegetable production.

Fruit

Key results for fruit production in 2017-18 included:

  • 1.6 million tonnes of grapes (down 9%)
  • 378,000 tonnes of oranges (up 14%)
  • 374,000 tonnes of bananas (down 9%)
  • 268,000 tonnes of apples (down 15%)
  • 138,000 tonnes of mandarins (up 8%)
  • 104,000 tonnes of pears (up 7%)
  • 70,000 tonnes of almonds (down 7%)
  • 63,000 tonnes of avocadoes (up 12%)
  • 57,000 tonnes of mangoes (up 30%)
     

Vegetables

Key results for vegetable production in 2017-18 included:

  • 1.2 million tonnes of potatoes (up 8%)
  • 386 thousand of tomatoes (up 4%)
  • 279 thousand tonnes of onions (up 6%)
  • 225 thousand tonnes of melons (down 15%)
  • 51 thousand tonnes of mushrooms (up 11%)
  • 49 thousand tonnes of capsicums (up 27%)
     
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Livestock

Changing climatic conditions during the year ending 30 June 2018 limited growth of Australian livestock numbers.

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Beef cattle

The national beef herd remained relatively steady at 24 million head, with declines in the herd in most states offset by increases in Queensland and Victoria:

At June 2018 the national beef herd comprised:

  • 5 million calves (down 0.3%)
  • 12 million cows and heifers (down 0.2%)
  • 6 million other cattle (up 4%)
     
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Dairy cattle

The national dairy herd increased slightly in 2017-18.

At 30 June 2018, there were 2.6 million dairy cattle, including:

  • 1.5 million cows in milk and dry (up 2%)
  • 452,000 dairy calves less than one year (up 1%)
  • 411,000 heifers 1 to 2 years old (down 6%)
  • 138,000 heifers 2 years and older (up 14%)
     
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Sheep and lambs

Dry conditions in 2018 limited flock rebuilding nationally.

At June 2018, there were 71 million sheep and lambs in Australia (down 2%), including:

  • 22 million marked lambs less than one year old (down 4%)
  • 27 million breeding merino ewes (up 1%)
  • 13 million other breeding ewes (down 3%)
     
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Pigs

Increased numbers of pigs in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia were offset by falls in New South Wales and Victoria in 2017-18.

At June 2018, there were 3 million pigs (up 2%) nationally. Of these there were:

  • 274,000 breeding sows (down 1%)
  • 2 million other pigs (up by 2%)

Data downloads

Agricultural commodities, Australia and state/territory and ASGS (Statistical Area 4) regions - 2017-18

Agricultural commodities, Australia and state/territory and NRM regions - 2017-18

Farm management and demographics, Australia and state/territory and ASGS (Statistical Area 4) regions - 2017-18

Farm management and demographics, Australia and state/territory and NRM regions - 2017-18

Agricultural commodities, Australia and state/territory and ASGS (Statistical Area 4) regions - 2017-18 (.csv file)

Agricultural commodities, Australia and state/territory and NRM regions - 2017-18 (.csv file)

Survey material

To view the Agricultural commodities sample survey form click here.