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1308.8 - In fACT - Statistical Information on the ACT and Region, Aug 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/08/2009   
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Contents >> Australian Capital Region >> Agriculture in the ACR 2005-06

AGRICULTURE IN THE ACR 2005-06

The Australian Capital Region (ACR) which comprises the ACT and 17 surrounding Local Government Areas has a most productive agricultural industry. In 2005-06, nearly 6,400 businesses in this region conducted agricultural operations on 3.5 million hectares and produced goods to the value of $793million.

To put this into perspective, the ACR contributed 8.8% to the total value of agricultural production in New South Wales (NSW) using only 5.6% of the state's agricultural land. But the ACR is not only known for its productivity - it also has a history rich in the development of Australia's wool and wheat industries, due mainly to the efforts of two early pioneers, Hamilton Hume and William Farrer.

Following the famous explorer Hume's first sighting of the Yass Plains in 1821 and subsequent surveys in the district, settlers began arriving with their sheep flocks in the late 1820's to take advantage of the good agricultural land. Sheep numbers flourished and in 2006 the Yass Shire and four adjoining shires of Boorowa, Upper Lachlan, Gundagai and Harden between them ran 3.9 million sheep and lambs. Overall, the ACR grazed 6.8 million sheep and lambs which was slightly above one fifth of all sheep and lambs in NSW.

AGRICULTURE IN THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL REGION: 2005-06

Crops - excluding hay(a)
Broadacre crops - excluding hay(b)
Wheat
Vegetables
Fruit
Grapes
$
$
$
$
$
$

New South Wales
4 706 662 206
3 192 829 099
1 432 688 557
358 842 130
794 911 359
274 197 208
ACR
230 603 024
104 263 617
64 501 373
8 090 663
98 229 341
5 787 063
Bega Valley (A)
3 242 016
69 188
-
231 041
189 944
11 484
Bombala (A)
723 539
452 163
92 582
-
26 788
-
Boorowa (A)
6 548 508
6 372 219
2 667 939
-
89 241
89 241
Cooma-Monaro (A)
5 563 286
710 026
66 589
4 609 458
48 486
4 249
Cootamundra (A)
21 560 342
21 485 007
14 180 184
-
75 335
30 777
Eurobodalla (A)
1 428 090
78 514
-
140 861
203 112
1 540
Goulburn Mulwaree (A) - Goulburn
42 219
42 219
-
-
-
3 352
Goulburn Mulwaree (A) Bal
3 568 525
778 774
71 174
130 213
45 165
-
Gundagai (A)
9 859 236
3 405 681
1 559 751
-
6 451 341
1 898 020
Harden (A)
35 912 018
23 178 886
14 102 946
-
12 381 190
1 108 430
Palerang (A) - Pt A
1 998 075
95 914
82 689
28 846
92 094
40 793
Palerang (A) - Pt B
705 147
112 858
-
43 747
286 707
-
Queanbeyan (C)
-
-
-
-
-
-
Snowy River (A)
446 258
168 136
54 019
29 521
8 959
4 394
Tumbarumba (A)
16 028 121
1 292 707
8 900
-
11 493 777
1 027 286
Tumut Shire (A)
35 110 353
131 473
102 094
32 825
33 764 318
64 865
Upper Lachlan (A)
4 194 846
1 595 388
363 380
335 891
84 813
19 647
Yass Valley (A)
6 483 118
3 127 182
1 118 577
2 135 599
938 793
409 627
Young (A)
73 290 301
41 162 908
30 030 549
134 967
31 451 485
589 158
Australian Capital Territory
3 899 026
4 374
-
237 694
597 793
484 200

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes cereal crops for grain, legumes for grain, oilseeds, cotton, peanuts, sugar cane and other broadacre crops, nurseries/cut flowers/turf, vegetables for human consumption and for seed, and fruit.
(b) Includes cereal crops for grain, legumes for grain, oilseeds, cotton, peanuts, sugar cane and other broadacre crops.
Source: ABS data available on request, Agricultural Census commodities, 2005-06.
Note: New South Wales: Cities (C) and Areas (A).

AGRICULTURE IN THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL REGION: 2005-06

Cattle and calves slaughtered
Sheep and lambs slaughtered
Milk
Wool
$
$
$
$

New South Wales
1 603 272 230
475 896 994
410 973 720
691 509 071
ACR
157 619 245
91 479 798
54 524 147
152 379 933
Bega Valley (A)
14 720 893
373 544
37 913 574
575 693
Bombala (A)
5 032 273
6 472 476
-
9 270 415
Boorowa (A)
5 132 146
6 846 767
136 550
15 303 313
Cooma-Monaro (A)
4 883 617
4 336 100
-
7 575 448
Cootamundra (A)
5 359 310
6 022 250
1 983
6 951 198
Eurobodalla (A)
3 390 168
6 880
7 102 467
30 158
Goulburn Mulwaree (A) - Goulburn
97 617
58 017
-
122 345
Goulburn Mulwaree (A) Bal
5 559 912
3 013 750
29 539
5 858 624
Gundagai (A)
16 483 068
7 122 134
52 035
9 359 839
Harden (A)
7 532 205
8 680 121
832 953
10 575 950
Palerang (A) - Pt A
2 976 727
837 961
13 485
2 066 634
Palerang (A) - Pt B
10 031 859
2 000 010
-
2 680 912
Queanbeyan (C)
147 388
38 682
-
158 841
Snowy River (A)
5 576 795
5 317 489
-
8 552 913
Tumbarumba (A)
16 578 721
2 344 167
6 241 855
2 918 119
Tumut Shire (A)
13 315 908
2 182 229
1 769 577
2 458 209
Upper Lachlan (A)
15 993 306
16 588 771
21 828
30 411 531
Yass Valley (A)
11 727 647
9 188 575
100 990
22 173 972
Young (A)
9 595 685
8 824 875
307 311
13 464 591
Australian Capital Territory
3 484 000
1 225 000
-
1 871 228

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
Source: ABS data available on request, Agricultural Census commodities, 2005-06.
Note: New South Wales: Cities (C) and Areas (A).


In terms of value of production, the wool/sheep meat industry is the ACR's most valuable agricultural industry ($244 million). For a region encompassing an area often referred to as the 'fine wool capital of the world’ (a reputation earned through the work of such men as renowned breeder of fine-woolled sheep, Sir Walter Merriman), it is no surprise that the value of wool produced ($152 million) is that industry's major earner. The value of slaughterings added a further $91 million.

While the graziers of the Yass Valley improved their flocks in the late 1800's and early 1900's, a breeder of another type in the south of the ACR was working on producing a wheat variety better suited to Australian conditions. In 1886, William James Farrer settled at Lambrigg Station (just south of where Canberra is today) and continued his cross-breeding experiments which led to the development of his most famous variety - the Federation. This strain is claimed to have almost trebled Australia's wheat harvest between 1900 and 1920.

AGRICULTURE IN THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL REGION: 2005-06 - Total

Total Area of Holding
Number of agricultural businesses
Total gross value of production
ha
no.
$

New South Wales
62 119 245
48 838
9 034 542 039
ACR
3 468 015
6 356
792 755 997
Bega Valley (A)
97 919
465
58 740 726
Bombala (A)
195 137
232
21 884 890
Boorowa (A)
231 394
285
37 439 811
Cooma-Monaro (A)
242 665
303
23 797 300
Cootamundra (A)
135 850
199
42 952 559
Eurobodalla (A)
34 840
168
12 589 591
Goulburn Mulwaree (A) - Goulburn
3 497
24
411 275
Goulburn Mulwaree (A) Bal
174 976
351
24 166 446
Gundagai (A)
209 265
285
48 146 852
Harden (A)
171 587
278
81 530 930
Palerang (A) - Pt A
74 546
158
9 400 421
Palerang (A) - Pt B
167 677
310
16 328 416
Queanbeyan (C)
5 239
23
406 467
Snowy River (A)
265 117
294
21 009 247
Tumbarumba (A)
185 606
321
47 397 423
Tumut Shire (A)
125 271
383
56 776 590
Upper Lachlan (A)
553 175
1 017
79 025 266
Yass Valley (A)
287 026
663
54 977 763
Young (A)
262 318
498
138 814 771
Australian Capital Territory
44 910
99
16 959 253

Source: ABS data available on request, Agricultural Census Commodities, 2005-06.
Note: New South Wales: Cities (C) and Areas (A).


Considering this historical connection to the development of Australia's most popularly grown crop, it is no wonder that wheat is a major commodity in the ACR with 362,000 tonnes (nearly 5% of the total NSW wheat crop) harvested in 2005-06 at value of $65 million. Including wheat, production of all broadacre crops (which includes cereals and legumes for grain, oilseeds, cotton, peanuts and sugar) in the ACR was valued in 2006 at $104 million, just over 3% of the total state value.

After sheep/wool, cattle and calves slaughterings in the ACR were valued at $158 million. This cull came from a herd estimated at 700,000 beef cattle and 47,000 dairy cattle in mid 2006. Feathered livestock of the chicken variety numbered 1.4 million with the 800,000 layers producing 13.4 million dozen eggs in 2005-06.

The largest agricultural zone in the ACR is the Upper Lachlan Shire, which includes the towns of Crookwell, Taralga and Gunning. Just over 1,000 agricultural businesses in this shire conduct operations across 553,000 ha. Other shires with large agricultural operations included the Yass Valley (287,000 ha), Snowy River (265,000 ha), Young (262,000 ha), Cooma-Monaro (243,000 ha) and Boorowa (231,000 ha). The Australian Capital Territory had one of the smallest agricultural operations, covering just 45,000 ha.

On a value of production by shire basis, the Shire of Young led the way with $139 million worth of agricultural production in 2005-06, with broadacre cropping contributing $41 million (30%) to the shire’s total value of agricultural production. In the Harden Shire, broadacre cropping was again the major contributor with $23 million (28%) of the shire’s $82 million total value of production. However, in the Upper Lachlan Shire, the value of wool was the number one contributor with $30 million of the total $79 million for that shire. The Bega Valley, famous for its dairy industry, produced goods to the value of $59 million with milk production not surprisingly contributing $38 million, or 65% of this shire total.

In 2005-06, the Australian Capital Territory’s agricultural production was valued at $17 million with livestock products (includes wool and eggs) contributing $7.6 million and livestock slaughterings $5.1 million (includes slaughter of cattle, sheep and poultry). The value of fruit crops came in at $600,000.


Sources:

Agriculture Commodities: Small Area Data, Australia, 2005-06 (Reissue) (cat. no. 7125.0)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Farrer

http://www.yass.nsw.gov.au/printversion/1582.html

C.W. Wrigley, 'Farrer, William James (1845-1906)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 8, Melbourne University Press, 1981, pp. 471-473



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