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 Hume region and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
The Hume region of Victoria is located in the north east of the state. The region comprises the 10 local government areas of Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Mitchell, Murrindindi, Strathbogie, Towong, Wangaratta, Wodonga, and parts of Greater Shepparton and Yarra Ranges. The Hume region includes the major regional centres of Wangaratta and Wodonga. The region covers a total area of around 34,000 square kilometres or 15 per cent of Victoria's total area and is home to approximately 174,600 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Hume region occupies 15,000 square kilometres, or 44 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) also occupy 7,200 square kilometres, or 21 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pasture, which occupies 12,400 square kilometres or 36 per cent of the Hume region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 80,900 people were employed in the Hume region. The region accounts for 2 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 9 per cent of all people employed in the Victorian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 11,100 people, followed by retail trade with 9,100 people, and agriculture, forestry and fishing with 8,100 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction; accommodation and food services; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector represented 10 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Hume region was $1.1 billion, which was 7 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15 billion).
The Hume 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 ($340 million), followed by sheep and lambs ($172 million) and milk ($169 million). These commodities together contributed 62 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 2,862 farms in the Hume region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 13 per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Hume region, 2016–17
|Industry classification||Hume region||Victoria|
|Number of farms||% of region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||1,443||50.4||5,642||25.6|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||372||13.0||2,795||13.3|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||209||7.3||1,283||16.3|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||193||6.8||3,928||4.9|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||111||3.9||1,920||5.8|
|Other Grain Growing||106||3.7||2,320||4.6|
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.
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 (1,443 farms) were the most common, accounting for 50 per cent of all farms in the Hume region, and 26 per cent of all beef cattle farms in Victoria.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 38 per cent of farms in the Hume region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 10 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 $500,000 and accounted for an estimated 53 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Hume region in 2016–17.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms in
In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Hume region was 64,200 hectares, comprised of 6,400 hectares of hardwood plantations and 57,800 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted is blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).
In 2011, there were 1.8 million hectares of native forests in the Hume region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium open (999,000 hectares), Eucalypt tall open (486,800 hectares) and Eucalypt medium woodland (161,600 hectares) forest types. The majority of the native forests were multiple-use public forests available for timber production (958,700 hectares), 494,500 hectares were in nature conservation reserves, and 293,500 hectares were privately managed. Major sawmills are located at Benalla, while wood-based panel mills are located at Myrtleford and Wangaratta.
In 2015–16, the total plantation area in Victoria was 423,000 hectares, comprised of 199,000 hectares of hardwood plantations, 223,300 hectares of softwood plantations and 800 hectares of other plantations.
In 2015–16, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 1.3 million cubic metres valued at $112 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 2.8 million cubic metres valued at $194 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 4 million cubic metres valued at $293 million.
The sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Victoria was estimated at $3.4 billion in 2015–16. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2015−16.
In 2016, the Victorian forestry sector employed 16,713 workers (0.6 per cent of the total employed workforce in Victoria) compared with 21,285 (0.9 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.
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.