This paper provides a statistical snapshot of indicators relevant to agriculture in NSW.
These include agricultural production and income, exports by commodity, gross agricultural product, employment, agricultural conditions such as drought, agricultural water entitlements and land ownership.
More than half of Australia's land mass is devoted to agriculture, primarily for cattle and sheep grazing and the growing of wheat. In 2009-10, cattle and wheat were the largest in value of all agricultural products in Australia. Between 1970 and 2010 the number of sheep in Australia declined by 60%, from approximately 180 million head to 68 million. While the focus of this paper is on NSW, some comparison is made to other States and Territories, and to Australia.
The current year's total winter crop production in NSW is expected to decrease compared to the previous year, largely owing to an expected decline in the production of wheat and barley as a result of changed climatic conditions. In contrast, the production of other crops, including sorghum, cotton and rice is expected to increase. Sheep and lamb, alongside beef cattle, continue to be the most important agricultural livestock commodities for the NSW economy.
Other high value agricultural commodities for NSW include chicken meat, apples, bananas and macadamia nuts. Agriculture contributed approximately $14.5 billion, or 3.4%, to the NSW economy in June 2011. Wheat is the most important crop commodity for NSW, contributing a significant amount to Gross Agricultural Product and to NSW and Australian exports. Largely as a result of the high Australian dollar and forecast lower world prices for some agricultural commodities, the value of NSW and Australian agricultural exports are expected to fall in 2012-13.