About my region – Ballarat Victoria

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, fisheries, and forestry sectors in the Ballarat region and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.

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Regional overview

The Ballarat region is located in the south west of Victoria (refer to land use map below). The region comprises the four local government areas of Ballarat, Central Goldfields, Hepburn and Pyrenees, and parts of the Ararat, Golden Plains, Loddon, Moorabool, and Mount Alexander local government areas. The region incorporates the major regional centre of Ballarat. The region covers a total area of around 10,300 square kilometres or 5 per cent of Victoria's total area and is home to approximately 162,400 people (ABS 2018).

Agricultural land in the Ballarat region occupies 6,500 square kilometres, or 63 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) also occupy 1,000 square kilometres, or 10 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 4,900 square kilometres or 47 per cent of the Ballarat region (ABARES 2016).

Broad land use in the Ballarat region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Ballarat 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 August  2020 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 80,400  people were employed in the Ballarat region. The region accounts for 2 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 3  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 13,200  people, followed by manufacturing with 10,500 people, and retail trade with 9,900  people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction; education and training; and accommodation and food services. Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 2,400  people, representing 3  per cent of the region’s workforce.

Employment profile, Ballarat region, August 2020
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Greater Adelaide region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Note: Annual average of the preceding 4 quarters.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 6291.0, Labour Force, Australia 2020

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2018–19, the gross value of agricultural production in the Ballarat region was $802 million, which was 5 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15.9 billion).

The Ballarat region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were sheep and lambs ($203 million), followed by wool ($157 million) and wheat ($87 million). These commodities together contributed 56 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2018–19 the Ballarat region accounted for 34 per cent ($42 million) of the total value of Victoria's potato production.

Value of agricultural production, Ballarat region, 2018–19
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the 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 2020

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2018–19 there were 1,242 farms in the Ballarat region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 6  per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Ballarat region, 2018–19
Industry classification Ballarat region Victoria
Number of farms % of Region Number of farms Contribution of region to state total %
Sheep Farming (Specialised)  487 39.2  2,982 16.3
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming  190 15.3  1,940 9.8
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)  190 15.3  4,894 3.9
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming  120 9.7  1,262 9.5
Other Grain Growing  105 8.5  1,829 5.8
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)  41 3.3  428 9.6
Dairy Cattle Farming  21 1.7  3,369 0.6
Grape Growing  18 1.4  741 2.4
Horse Farming  13 1.0  417 3.1
Nursery Production (Outdoors)  13 1.0  148 8.7
Other  42 3.4  1,699 2.5
Total agriculture  1,242 100  19,708 6.3

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, Customised report, 2020

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Sheep farms (487 farms) were the most common, accounting for 39 per cent of all farms in the Ballarat region, and 16  per cent of all sheep 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 25 per cent of farms in the Ballarat 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 2018–19. In comparison, 12 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 46  per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Ballarat region in 2018–19.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Ballarat region, 2018–19
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Greater Adelaide region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Note: Only farms with an EVAO of $50,000 or more in 2018–19 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, Customised report, 2020

Farm financial performance

Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms in Victoria.

Forestry sector

In 2014–15 the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Ballarat region was about 22,000 hectares, comprised of 8,470 hectares of hardwood plantations and 13,530 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in Victoria are Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood plantation species in Victoria is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2016 there were about 256,400 hectares of native forests in the Ballarat region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (175,700 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Woodland (39,100 hectares) and Eucalypt Tall Open (17,600 hectares). The majority of the native forests were multiple use public forest available for timber production (122,900 hectares), while 72,900 hectares were privately managed and 52,400 hectares were on in conservation reserves.

Victoria state data

In 2017–18, the total plantation area in Victoria was 420,600 hectares, comprised of 196,300 hectares of hardwood plantations and 223,400 hectares of softwood plantations.

In 2016, Victoria had 34 sawmills (including 9 softwood sawmills), 8 post and pole processors, 3 wood based panel processors and 5 paper and paperboard processors.

In 2016, there were 7.6 million hectares of native forests in Victoria, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (3.1 million hectares), Eucalypt Tall Open (1.4 million hectares) and Eucalypt Mallee Woodland (1.3 million hectares).

In 2017–18, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 1.2 million cubic metres, valued at $103.5 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 3.6 million cubic metres, valued at $262.3 million. The volume of plantation softwood logs harvested in Victoria was 4.3 million cubic metres, valued at $341.5 million.

In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Victoria was $3.6 billion.  Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2017–18.

In 2016, the Victoria forestry sector employed 15,105 workers (0.60 per cent of the total employed workforce in Victoria) compared with 20,167 (0.74 per cent) in 2011. The number of people employed includes the following categories: forestry and logging, forestry support services, wood product manufacturing and pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.

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 2020a,  Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, August 2020, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 12 December  2020.

ABS 2020b, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2018-19, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 29 May 2020.


 
Last reviewed: 12 March 2021
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