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 and forestry sectors in the Central West region and the recent financial performance of the New South Wales broadacre, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane industries.
The Central West region of New South Wales is located west of Sydney and the Great Dividing Range, extending from Lithgow into the plains areas surrounding Condobolin and West Wyalong. The region comprises the eleven local government areas of Bathurst Regional, Bland, Blayney, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid—Western Regional, Orange, Parkes and Weddin, and parts of Blue Mountains, Cabonne, Oberon, Singleton, Warrumbungle Shire and Western Plains Regional. The region covers a total area of around 70,300 square kilometres or 9 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 211,200 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Central West region of New South Wales occupies 57,300 square kilometres, or 81 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 9,700 square kilometres, or 14 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 38,100 square kilometres or 54 per cent of the Central West region of New South Wales (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 104,400 people were employed in the Central West region. The region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 11 per cent of all people employed in the New South Wales agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 16,700 people, followed by retail trade with 10,500 people, and construction with 10,000 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were agriculture, forestry and fishing; public administration and safety; and manufacturing. Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 9,300 people, representing 9 per cent of the region’s workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Central West region was $1.6 billion, which was 12 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales of $13 billion.
The Central West region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($313 million), followed by wool ($281 million) and wheat ($269 million). These commodities together contributed 55 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In addition, in 2017–18 the Central West region accounted for 47 per cent ($9 million) of the total value of the state’s cherry production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2016–17 there were 3,978 farms in the Central West region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 15 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Central West region, 2016–17
|Industry classification||Central West region||New South Wales|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||946||23.8||6,968||13.6|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||911||22.9||3,579||25.4|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||690||17.4||2,821||24.5|
|Other Grain Growing||580||14.6||3,192||18.2|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||482||12.1||2,500||19.3|
|Other Crop Growing nec||52||1.3||267||19.6|
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. Beef cattle farms (946 farms) were the most common, accounting for 24 per cent of all farms in the Central West region, and 14 per cent of all 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 35 per cent of farms in the Central West region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 7 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 11 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 49 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Central West 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.
In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Central West region was 87,000 hectares, comprised almost completely of softwood plantations. The main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).
In 2011, there were 1.9 million hectares of native forests in the Central West region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (1.0 million hectares), Eucalypt medium open (296,000 hectares), Callitris (110,500 hectares), Eucalypt mallee woodland (89,100 hectares) and Casuarina (84,400 hectares) forest types. There were 1.1 million hectares of the native forests privately owned, 509,100 hectares were in nature conservation reserves, 168,300 were in leasehold forest and 147,700 hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major timber processing industries are located at Oberon and Raglan.
In 2015–16, the total plantation area in New South Wales was 394,400 hectares, comprised of 87,100 hectares of hardwood plantations, 307,100 hectares of softwood plantations and 100 hectares of other plantations.
In 2015–16, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 876,000 cubic metres valued at $110 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 63,000 cubic metres valued at $5 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 4.7 million cubic metres valued at $344 million. These values and volumes include New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
Total sales and service income in the New South Wales forest and wood product industry was estimated at $8.9 billion in 2015–16. The income generated from the sale of wood products was $4.6 billion, and the income generated from the sale of paper and paper products was $4.3 billion.
In 2016, the New South Wales forestry sector employed 17,571 workers (0.5 per cent of the total employed workforce in New South Wales) compared with 22,250 (0.7 per cent) in 2011. The number of people employed includes the following categories: forestry, logging, support services, timber wholesaling; and wood, pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.
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.