Value of Aussie Agriculture hits $71 billion in 2020-21

Released
26/07/2022

New data on Australian agriculture is now available

Thank you to those farmers who completed their 2020-21 Agricultural Census. The Agricultural Census supports the production of vital information on agricultural production, value and water use which helps industry, business and government make informed decisions.

New data on Australian agriculture is now available on:

Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced 

Agricultural Commodities 

Water Use on Australian Farms 

Latest data reveals that Australia has 387 million hectares of agricultural land. Of which, 332 million hectares is used for grazing and 32 million hectares is used for cropping.

In 2020-21 Australian agriculture saw a 17 per cent increase in value to $71 billion. 

Favourable growing conditions and better access to water for irrigation resulted in dramatic increases in the production of many crops, especially ideal for wheat production. Compared with the previous year, the value of wheat grew by 99 per cent to $9.9 billion in 2020-21 with production up 120 per cent.

We also saw above average yields and record production for other crops such as barley and canola in 2020-21. The value of barley rose by 24 per cent to $3.7 billion with production up 45 per cent on the previous year. The value of canola, meanwhile rose by 114 per cent to $2.9 billion.

With drought-breaking rainfall and improved seasonal conditions, the production and value of irrigated crops such as cotton recovered from recent lows, up 451,300 tonnes to 566,000 tonnes and gross value up $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion in 2020-21.

Compared with the previous year, value of total livestock disposals fell 6 per cent. However, the value of livestock products was largely steady with a strong result for eggs (up 28 per cent to $1.1 billion) offsetting falls in wool (down 4 per cent to $2.6 billion) and milk (down 3 per cent to $4.7 billion).

Declines in the value of livestock disposals were largely due to farmers using the improved seasonal conditions and better pastures as an opportunity to rebuild their stocks. This approach saw the beef cattle herd increase 4 per cent to 22.1 million head in 2020-21 compared with the previous year. Increases were also seen in the sheep flock (up 7 per cent to 68.1 million head) and the dairy herd (up 1 per cent to 2.4 million head).

    The total value of Australian agriculture increased to $71 billion in 2020-21

    Infographic showing total value of Australian agriculture from 2020-21 and key state statistics.

    The total value of Australian agriculture increased to $71 billion in 2020-21

    Infographic showing total value of Australian agriculture from 2020-21 and key state statistics.
    The total value of Australian agriculture increased to $71 billion in 2020-21.

    Icon of wheat and map of New South Wales:
    New South Wales produced 13 million tonnes of wheat in 2020-21.
    The Moree Plains shire produced NSW’s largest wheat crop with 1.4 million tonnes.

    Icon of grapes and map of South Australia:
    South Australia produced 52% of the nation’s wine grapes in 2020-21 (872,000 tonnes).
    District Council of Loxton Waikerie produced the state’s largest crop of wine grapes with 193,500 tonnes.

    Icon of harvester and map of Western Australia:
    Western Australia had the nation’s largest barley harvest in 2020-21 with 4.6 million tonnes and continues to be the country’s largest canola producer with 1.7 million tonnes.
    The Esperance shire recorded the state’s largest barley crop with 524,000 tonnes as well as the state’s largest canola crop with 306,300 tonnes.

    Icon of a dairy cow and map of Victoria:
    Victoria has the country’s largest dairy herd with 1.4 million head.
    The Corangamite Shire has Victoria’s largest dairy cattle herd with 224,300 head.

    Icon of a potato plant and map of Tasmania:
    Tasmania continued to produce the nation’s largest potato crop in 2020-21 at 401,000 tonnes.
    The Dorset Council produced the state’s largest potato crop with 73,100 tonnes.

    Icon of beef cattle and map of Queensland:
    In 2020-21, Queensland’s beef herd was the largest in the country, accounting for almost half of Australia’s total herd at 10.6 million head.
    The Central Highlands Regional Council had Queensland’s largest beef herd with 896,000 head.

    Icon of a sun and map of the Northern Territory:
    The Northern Territory had 53 million hectares of farmland and 1.7 million beef cattle in 2020-21.
    The gross value of mangoes increased 4% to $70 million.

    Icon of a plant nursery and map of the Australian Capital Territory:
    The total value of nurseries in the Australian Capital Territory was $2.4 million and accounted for over a quarter (26%) in 2020-21.

    This information was sourced from two Australian Bureau of Statistics’ agricultural releases. Firstly from the Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2021 release. Secondly from Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2021 release.