SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
While improved seasonal conditions saw increases in production of some major broadacre crops in 2008-09, livestock numbers remained flat or continued their falls of recent years.
The total area sown to barley for grain in 2008-09 fell 2% to 4.8 million hectares. Of the major barley producing states, Western Australia was the only state to report increased area sown (up 4% to 1.4 million hectares). The other main growing states were South Australia (1.2 million hectares), Victoria (1.1 million hectares) and New South Wales (1.0 million hectares).
Production of barley for grain in 2008-09 increased 7% to 7.7 million tonnes. Barley production increased in all states with the exception of Victoria (down 22% to 1.4 million tonnes). The other main producing states were Western Australia (2.8 million tonnes), South Australia (1.9 million tonnes) and New South Wales (1.4 million tonnes).
In 2008-09, the total area sown to canola rose 31% from the previous year to 1.7 million hectares. Canola production rose 53% to 1.9 million tonnes.
The area planted to cotton rose 122% in 2008-09, to 153 thousand hectares. The production of cotton lint rose 155% to 303 thousand tonnes, returning to 2006-07 levels.
The total area sown to grain sorghum in Australia in 2008-09 decreased by 188 thousand hectares (20%) to 754 thousand hectares. In the main growing states, the area planted to grain sorghum decreased 16% in New South Wales (to 233 thousand hectares) and 21% in Queensland (to 519 thousand hectares).
Production of grain sorghum was down 30% to 2.7 million tonnes. Production decreased in New South Wales (down 25% to 950 thousand tonnes) and Queensland (down 32% to 1.7 million tonnes).
The area sown to lupins for grain decreased 23% from 752 thousand hectares in 2007-08, to 578 thousand hectares in 2008-09. Production rose 8% to 716 thousand tonnes.
The total area sown to oats for grain in 2008-09 fell 31% from the previous year to 856 thousand hectares. The area sown to oats for grain decreased in the major producing states of Western Australia (down 24% to 302 thousand hectares), New South Wales (down 41% to 274 thousand hectares) and Victoria (down 12% to 185 thousand hectares).
Production of oats for grain in 2008-09 decreased 20% to 1.2 million tonnes. Falls were reported in all the major growing states with the exception of New South Wales (up 34% to 258 thousand tonnes). In Western Australia and Victoria, production was down 26% and 29% respectively.
The area sown to rice increased four-fold from 2007-08, to 8 thousand hectares and production more than tripled to 63 thousand tonnes. However, despite these increases, rice production remained at historically low levels. New South Wales was the only rice producing state in Australia in 2008-09.
The area planted to sugar cane for crushing decreased 4% from 2007-08 to 367 thousand hectares and production also fell 7% to 30.3 million tonnes in 2008-09.
The total area sown to wheat for grain in 2008-09 rose 5% from the previous year to 13.2 million hectares. The area sown to wheat for grain increased in all states except Victoria (down 2% to 1.5 million hectares) and South Australia (down 2% to 2.1 million hectares).
In 2008-09, production of wheat for grain rose 54% to 20.9 million tonnes. Production increased in all major wheat growing states except Victoria (down 14% to 1.7 million tonnes).
Preliminary estimates for 2008-09 indicate the number of milk cattle in Australia was 2.5 million head, an increase of less than 1% from 2007-08. The number of milk cattle increased in Victoria (up 1%), Tasmania (up 14%) and South Australia (up 6%) with decreases in all other states.
In 2008-09, the number of meat cattle in Australia was 24.5 million head. The dominant state in the industry continued to be Queensland, accounting for 47% (11.6 million head) of Australia's meat cattle in 2008-09.
Sheep and lambs
In 2008-09, the number of sheep and lambs in Australia was 71.6 million head, the lowest number since 1905. New South Wales (25.0 million head), Western Australia (15.5 million head) and Victoria (14.8 million head) accounted for 77% of the nation's flock of sheep and lambs.
Preliminary estimates indicate the number of pigs in Australia in 2008-09 was 2.2 million head, a decrease of 7% from 2007-08 to the lowest herd size since 1978. In 2008-09, Queensland (630 thousand head) and New South Wales (556 thousand head) accounted for approximately half of Australia's pig herd.