At the date of publication, 2019-20 data is not yet available, consequently the following regional commentary analyses 2018–19 industry data.
(North Coast, Hunter, Greater Sydney, South East) ap
The Eastern region of NSW stretches along the NSW coast from Queensland to the Victorian border and to the Great Dividing Range in the west. It is a unique and diverse part of the primary industries sector in NSW. The region had the second highest output for 2018-19, at $3.5 billion and was the only region to record an annual increase in output of 5%. It also represented 28% of total primary industries output for 2018-19.
Three of the top five industries by value were livestock related industries, and collectively made up 43% of the regions output in 2018-19. Cattle and calves were by far the largest industry at $711 million, a 15% increase year on year with production spread across the entire area. Milk production increased 10% to $399 million, more heavily weighted to the south coast while poultry production contributed $385 million mostly from the Sydney and Hunter districts. Wool, sheep and lamb production collectively contributed a further $312 million, with production predominantly from the south east part of the region.
The Greater Sydney area supports a strong nurseries industry, with contribution from the North Coast and a total value for the region of $261 million. The coastline and estuaries also support approximately 93% of the state’s commercial fishing and aquaculture sector with a combined value of $167 million 66,61. Meanwhile, the region hosts the largest forestry sector in the state at $210 million, dominated by hardwood production originating in both the South East and North Coast corners of the state 11.
(Northern Tablelands, North West) ap
Encompassing the Northern Tablelands and the North West areas, the region ranges from the undulating slopes in the east to the productive black soil plains in the west and variations in-between. The Northern region was disproportionately impacted by the drought in 2018-19 with intense drought conditions dominating its productive potential. As a result, total output fell by the largest of any region, down by 33% to $1.90 billion in 2018-19 with a 15% share of total state output.
Livestock production is important for the region, and further emphasised in light of the prevailing dry conditions in 2018-19 with four of the top five industries being livestock related. Cattle production rose one spot, to top the list of commodities for the year at $652 million, recording a relatively modest 6% decline year on year. Wool production valued $137 million fell 10% year on year, while sheep and lamb production were standout performers growing by 15% to $126 million driven by solid prices and increased offtake. Poultry output which is centred around the Tamworth district was also valued at $95 million for the year.
Cotton production on the floodplains of the North West was heavily impacted by low water allocations and relinquished the top spot for the region, slipping 57% to $413 million. However, the area was still the dominant cotton production area, and accounted for 49% of the state’s industry output. Despite lower production, sorghum output was relatively resilient dropping by a modest 12% to $67 million supported by high feed grain prices. The winter crops of wheat, barley and pulse crops which are typically high value commodities for the area, were impacted by the dry conditions and recorded a combined value of just $204 million. Tomato production based in Guyra made up 60% share of the state’s industry output and recorded a modest increase of 5% year on year to reach $33 million.
(Central Tablelands, Central West) ap
The Central region includes the Central Tablelands region west of Sydney and the slopes and plains of the Central West region in the middle of the state. It is a diverse area with a range of primary industries however, the output could be best described by mixed farming systems. Similarly, to the Northern region, it was impacted heavily by intense drought conditions with the regions total output falling by 15% to $2.01 billion, while making up 16% of the state’s output.
Extensive livestock systems take the three top places in terms of industry output, making up 60% of total regional output for 2018-19. Leading the list is cattle production, as it is for most areas in 2018-19, valued at $529 million after an increase of 6% on the year prior. Central NSW is an important component of the wool, sheep and lamb industries with a combined value of $679 million and second only to the Southern region in terms of overall value. Milk production is also represented in the top ten industries for the region, with $42 million of milk produced mainly from areas of the upper Lachlan valley near Cowra, through to Forbes.
Cropping output was hit disproportionately by the dry conditions, with wheat recording a 60% decline in output to $131 million. Barley production demonstrated some resilience, falling by a modest 6% to $50 million, with feed grain prices supporting the industry for those that managed to strip grain. Like the Northern region, cotton production was impacted by limited river allocations however, groundwater allocations helped support $159 million of production in the Lachlan and Macquarie valleys which form part of the landscape. Apple production based around the Orange district is the second largest in the state and supports 42% of state production and $24 million in output.
(Riverina, Murray) ap
Comprising the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys, the Southern region supports a wide range of extensive and intensive livestock, cropping and horticultural industries. It is a key component of the NSW primary industries landscape, and while also impacted by drought, the region produced a resilient result by comparison relative to more northern counterparts. Subsequently output fell by a modest 9% to $4.34 billion and made up 35% of the state’s primary industries output, and the largest regional output for 2018-19.
Livestock related industries occupied five of the top ten positions in terms of industry output, with three of those positions also having the highest regional value for their respective industries. Cattle production increased by 21% and moved to the top position for Southern NSW at $617 million and second in output only to the Eastern region. Wool output was pegged at $408 million, the highest regional level along with sheep and lamb production of $376 million, up 16% year on year. A concentrated poultry industry based around the Griffith area was worth $297 million and made up 38% of the state industry output. Meanwhile the region is pivotal in pig production, accounting for 82% of the state’s output and valued at $158 million.
Some marginally better conditions compared to Northern areas meant a 69% majority of state wheat was produced in Southern NSW. This was the second highest value industry at $516 million, although still down 32% on the year prior. Barley production bucked the trend in the region, with output increasing 7% to $197 million which was underpinned by strong feed grain demand and subsequently higher prices. Cotton production fell to $243 million in line with decreased water allocations but remained the second largest cotton production area for a second straight year. Similarly rice production which almost entirely occurs in Southern NSW, was heavily impacted by the declining water allocations and high water prices, with output falling by 87% on the year prior.
Other notable industries in the region include the largest wine grape production region, based around the warm climate grape industry with a total output of $152 million, an annual increase of 11%. The region is known for its citrus industry, with orange production making up 71% of the state’s output at $140 million. The relatively new almond industry also continues to expand in the region, with output valued at $38 million in 2018-19.
The Western region encompasses the largest land area of all the regions, dominated by the range land grazing systems, but also including irrigated agricultural production along the Barwon-Darling, Lower Darling and Lower Murray rivers. Due to the typically lower rainfall and vast land mass, primary industries are generally extensive in nature however, some intensive cropping occurs predominantly in the regulated portions of the river systems. The region has been experiencing lower rainfall for longer than some other regions of the state, and as such output fell marginally by 5% to a total of $622 million.
Extensive livestock systems are an important part of the production systems in the Western region however, this is the only region where cattle does not hold the top spot in industry output, valued at $54 million and fifth in regional position of industries. Rather the top position is held by sheep and lamb industry at $124 million, an 11% increase on the previous year supported by strong prices and high turnoff due to drought. Closely aligned with sheep and lamb production is the traditional wool industry of the region, worth a further $107 million. The rangeland goat industry, while not reported in official data, is a major contributor to the region and to the overall goat industry more broadly, with an estimated value of $68 millionao in 2018-19 71.
Irrigated agriculture also forms an important part of the primary industry sector for the region, predominantly along the lower Darling and lower Murray in the southern part of the region. However, production also occurs along the unregulated Barwon-Darling portion of the region also, particularly when river flows permit. The largest irrigated agriculture industry is wine grapes valued at $71 million and second only to the Southern region in industry output. Likewise, the region supports 86% of the state’s table grape production, valued at $67 million. Citrus production, predominantly of orange and mandarins, contributed a combined $52 million. The region is also the largest almond production region with 52% share of the state’s output.