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About my region – Far West and Orana New South Wales

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.

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Regional overview

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).

Broad land use in the Far West and Orana region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Far West and Orana region. It includes a legend which shows the broad land use categories— nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use; grazing native vegetation; production forestry; grazing modified pastures; plantation forestry; cropping; horticulture; intensive uses and water. This map is discussed in the above paragraph.
Source: Catchment scale land use of Australia - Update December 2018

Employment

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.

Employment profile, Far West and Orana region, February 2019
Shows the number of people employed in the Far West and Orana region by industry in thousands. The figure is discussed in the previous two paragraphs.
Note: Annual average of the preceding 4 quarters.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 6291.0, Labour Force, Australia 2019

Agricultural sector

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.

Value of agricultural production, Far West and Orana region, 2017–18
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the Far West and Orana region in millions of dollars. The figure is discussed in the previous three paragraphs.
Note: The graph shows only data published by the ABS. Some values were not published by the ABS to ensure confidentiality. The "Other commodities" category includes the total value of commodities not published as well as those with small values.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 7503.0, Value of agricultural commodities produced, Australia 2019

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 classificationFar West and Orana regionNew South Wales
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming80027.03,57922.4
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)58819.96,9688.4
Sheep Farming (Specialised)55418.72,82119.6
Other Grain Growing48116.33,19215.1
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming38413.02,50015.4
Cotton Growing491.738912.6
Other1023.56,5751.6
Total agriculture 2,959 100 26,024 11.4

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.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Far West and Orana region, 2016–17
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Far West and Orana region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Note: Only farms with an EVAO of $50,000 or more in 2016–17 are included in these data. The scope of ABS Rural Environment and Agricultural Collections changed in 2015–16 to include only agricultural businesses with an EVAO of $40,000 or greater.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018

Farm financial performance

Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in New South Wales.

References

ABARES 2016, Land Use of Australia 2010–11, ABARES, Canberra, May.

ABARES 2018, Catchment scale land use of Australia – December 2018, Canberra, December.

ABS 2018, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2017, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 10 January 2019.

ABS 2019a Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Feb 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 03 April 2019.

ABS 2019b Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2017-18, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 May 2019.



Last reviewed:
06 Jun 2019