About my region is a series of individual profiles of the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries in your region. This regional profile presents an overview of the agriculture sector in the Far West and Orana region and the recent financial performance of the New South Wales broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Far West and Orana region of New South Wales is located in the north-west corner of the state extending north-west from Dubbo to the borders with South Australia and Queensland. It includes the towns of Bourke and Wilcannia on the Darling River, and Broken Hill. The region comprises the eleven local government areas of Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Central Darling, Cobar, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Narromine, Walgett, and Warren, and parts of the Cabonne, Lachlan, Warrumbungle Shire and Western Plains Regional areas. The region covers a total area of around 339,400 square kilometres or 42 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 116,700 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Far West and Orana region occupies 306,900 square kilometres, or 90 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas, and minimal use) occupy 24,600 square kilometres, or 7 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 249,600 square kilometres or 74 per cent of the Far West and Orana region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 58,600 people were employed in the Far West and Orana region. The region accounts for 1 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 10 per cent of all people employed in the New South Wales agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the largest employment sector with 8,100 people, representing 14 per cent of the region's workforce. This was followed by health care and social assistance with 7,500 people, and public administration and safety with 7,100 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were retail trade; education and training; and accommodation and food services.
Value of agricultural production
In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Far West and Orana region was $1.3 billion, which was 10 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales ($13 billion).
The Far West and Orana region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were cotton ($305 million), followed by cattle and calves ($257 million), and wool ($248 million). These commodities together contributed 63 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. Additionally, in 2017–18 the Far West and Orana region accounted for 54 per cent ($6 million) of the total value of the state's sweet corn production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2016–17 there were 2,959 farms in the Far West and Orana region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 11 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Far West and Orana region, 2016–17
|Industry classification||Far West and Orana region||New South Wales|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||800||27.0||3,579||22.4|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||588||19.9||6,968||8.4|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||554||18.7||2,821||19.6|
|Other Grain Growing||481||16.3||3,192||15.1|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||384||13.0||2,500||15.4|
Note: Estimated value of agricultural operations $40,000 or more. Industries that constitute less than 1 per cent of the region's industry are not shown.
nec Not elsewhere classified.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Grain-sheep or grain-beef cattle farms (800 farms) were the most common, accounting for 27 per cent of all farms in the Far West and Orana region, and 22 per cent of all grain-sheep or grain-beef cattle farms in New South Wales.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 27 per cent of farms in the Far West and Orana region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 4 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 16 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 58 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Far West and Orana region in 2016–17.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in
New South Wales.
Land Use of Australia 2010–11, ABARES, Canberra, May.
Catchment scale land use of Australia – December 2018, Canberra, December.
Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2017, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 10 January 2019.
Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Feb 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 03 April 2019.
Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2017-18, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 May 2019.