About my region – Murray region 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 and forestry sectors in the Murray region and the recent New South Wales financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Murray region of New South Wales is located in the south west of the state, including the regional centres of Albury, Deniliquin, and Hay and the area north of the Murray River. The region comprises eight local government areas of Albury, Balranald, Berrigan, Edward River, Greater Hume Shire, Hay, Murray River, and Wentworth, and parts of the Carrathool, Federation, Lockhart and Murrumbidgee local government areas. The region covers a total area of around 97,800 square kilometres or 12 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 118,900 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Murray region occupies 84,900 square kilometres, or 87 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas, and minimal use) occupy 8,500 square kilometres, or 9 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 48,300 square kilometres or 49 per cent of the Murray region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 62,100 people were employed in the Murray region. The region accounts for 2 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 7 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 10,600 people followed by retail trade with 8,200 people, and agriculture, forestry and fishing with 6,300 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were accommodation and food services; manufacturing; and construction. 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 Murray region was $2 billion, which was 15 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales ($13 billion).
The Murray region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were wheat ($333 million), followed by cattle and calves ($232 million) and wool ($202 million). These commodities together contributed 39 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. Additionally, in 2017–18 the Murray region accounted for 99 per cent ($76 million) of the total value of the state's grape (excluding wine grapes) production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2017–18 there were 2,267 farms in the Murray region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 10 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.
|Industry classification||Murray region||New South Wales|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Other Grain Growing||463||20.4||2,230||20.7|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||427||18.8||3,357||12.7|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||330||14.5||3,108||10.6|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||281||12.4||6,250||4.5|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||153||6.7||2,644||5.8|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||80||3.5||691||11.5|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||47||2.1||582||8.1|
|Other Crop Growing nec||37||1.6||86||42.8|
|Citrus Fruit Growing||36||1.6||235||15.5|
|Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing||23||1.0||538||4.4|
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 2019
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Other grain growing farms (463 farms) were the most common, accounting for 20 per cent of all farms in the Murray region, and 21 per cent of all other grain 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 19 per cent of farms in the Murray region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 2 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2017–18. In comparison, 22 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 63 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Murray region in 2017–18.
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 Murray region was about 27,600 hectares, comprised of less than 100 hectares of hardwood plantations and 27,550 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in New South Wales are Dunns white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii), blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood plantation species in New South Wales are radiata pine (Pinus radiata) and other pine species (various).
In 2016 there were about 1.3 million hectares of native forests in the Murray region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Mallee Open (556,000 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Woodland (201,500 hectares) and Eucalypt Medium Open (184,400 hectares). The majority of the native forests were leasehold land (786,700 hectares), while 211,000 hectares were privately managed and 209,600 hectares were on in conservation reserves. There were 43,700 hectares on multiple use native forest available for wood production.
New South Wales state data
In 2017–18, the total plantation area in New South Wales was 393,200 hectares, comprised of 87,100 hectares of hardwood plantations and 306,000 hectares of softwood plantations.
In 2016, New South Wales had 85 sawmills (including 17 softwood sawmills), 2 post and pole processors, 7 wood based panel processors and 5 paper and paperboard processors.
In 2016, there were 19.9 million hectares of native forests in New South Wales, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Woodland (6.0 million hectares), Eucalypt Medium Open (4.7 million hectares) and Eucalypt Tall Open (2.3 million hectares).
In 2017–18, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 977,000 cubic metres, valued at $128.5 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 254,000 cubic metres, valued at $21.9 million. The volume of plantation softwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 5.0 million cubic metres, valued at $393.5 million.
In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in New South Wales was $4.7 billion and for paper and paper products was $4.0 billion.
In 2016, the New South Wales forestry sector employed 16,396 workers (0.52 per cent of the total employed workforce in New South Wales) compared with 21,082 (0.62 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.
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, November 2019, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 January 2020.
ABS 2019b Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2017-18, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 15 May 2019.