About my region – Toowoomba Queensland
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 November 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 64,300 people were employed in the Toowoomba region. The Toowoomba region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 4 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 13,300 people, followed by retail trade with 8,000 people, and education and training with 7,500 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction; professional, scientific and technical services; and public administration and safety. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 2,900 people representing 5 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 2017–18 there were 321 farms in the Toowoomba region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 2 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
|Industry classification||Toowoomba region||Queensland|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||117||36.6||8,288||1.4|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||42||13.2||639||6.6|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||34||10.7||821||4.2|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||30||9.5||423||7.2|
|Other Grain Growing||25||7.8||985||2.5|
|Other Crop Growing nec||17||5.4||238||7.2|
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 2019
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (117 farms) were the most common, accounting for 37 per cent of all farms in the Toowoomba region, and 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 45 per cent of farms in the Toowoomba 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 2017–18. In comparison, 16 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 71 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Toowoomba region in 2017–18.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, grain, dairy and vegetable farms in Queensland.
In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the Toowoomba region recorded less than 100 hectares of hardwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in Queensland is Dunns white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii). The main softwood plantation species in Queensland are Slash Pine hybrid (Pinus elliottii hybrid), Southern Pine hybrid (Pinus caribaea hybrid) and Hoop pines (Araucaria cunninghamii).
In 2016 there were 96,700 hectares of native forests in the Toowoomba region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (36,600 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Woodland (34,500 hectares) and Other native forest (19,100 hectares). The majority of the native forests were privately managed (69,300 hectares), while 17,400 hectares were in conservation reserves and 5,500 hectares were on multiple use public forest available for timber production.
Queensland state data
In 2017–18, the total plantation area in Queensland was 230,500 hectares, comprised of 34,800 hectares of hardwood plantations and 195,600 hectares of softwood plantations.
In 2016, Queensland had 77 sawmills (including 31 softwood sawmills), 3 post and pole processors, 6 wood-based panel processors and 2 paper and paperboard processors.
In 2016, there were 51.6 million hectares of native forests in Queensland, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Woodland (27.1 million hectares), Melaleuca (5.1 million hectares) and Acacia (5.1 million hectares).
In 2017–18 the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Queensland was 279 thousand cubic metres valued at $39.7 million. There were no plantation hardwood logs harvested in this period. The volume of softwood logs harvested was 2.9 million cubic metres valued at $257.6 million.
In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Queensland was $2.6 billion. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2017–18.
In 2016 the Queensland forestry sector employed 9,520 workers (0.45 per cent) of the total employed workforce in Queensland compared with 12,840 (0.63 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.