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 Toowoomba region and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Toowoomba region of Queensland is located in the south–east of the state. The region comprises the local government area of Lockyer Valley and part of Toowoomba, and the major regional centre of Toowoomba. The region covers a total area of around 2,250 square kilometres or less than 1 per cent of Queensland's total area and is home to approximately 154,800 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Toowoomba region occupies 1,700 square kilometres, or 75 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 320 square kilometres, or 14 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 760 square kilometres or 34 per cent of the Toowoomba region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 75,000 people were employed in the Toowoomba region. The Toowoomba region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 8 per cent of all people employed in the Queensland agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 14,900 people, followed by construction with 9,800 people, and retail trade with 6,600 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were accommodation and food services; agriculture, forestry and fishing; and education and training. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 5,600 people representing 7 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Toowoomba region was $348 million, which was 3 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13 billion).
The most important commodities in the Toowoomba region based on the gross value of agricultural production were poultry ($50 million), followed by sweet corn ($44 million) and lettuce ($36 million). These commodities together contributed 37 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2016–17 there were 205 farms in the Toowoomba region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 1 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Toowoomba region, 2016–17
|Industry classification||Toowoomba region||Queensland|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||66||32.4||8,528||0.8|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||39||19.0||671||5.8|
|Other Grain Growing||26||12.7||1,153||2.3|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||21||10.3||509||4.2|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||10||4.7||927||1.0|
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.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (66 farms) were the most common, accounting for 32 per cent of all farms in the Toowoomba region, and less than 1 per cent of all beef farms in Queensland.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 47 per cent of farms in the Toowoomba region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 5 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2016–17. In comparison, 25 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 80 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Toowoomba region in 2016–17.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, grain, dairy and vegetable farms in
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.