About my region – Wide Bay 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 and forestry sectors in the Wide Bay region and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Wide Bay region of Queensland is located in the south–east of the state. The region comprises the five local government areas of Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, Gympie, North Burnett, and South Burnett, and the major regional centres of Bundaberg, Gympie and Maryborough. The region covers a total area of around 48,400 square kilometres, or 3 per cent of Queensland's total area, and is home to approximately 294,400 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Wide Bay region occupies 33,000 square kilometres, or 68 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 7,800 square kilometres, or 16 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures which occupies 17,600 square kilometres or 36 per cent of the Wide Bay region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 112,600 people were employed in the Wide Bay region. The region accounts for 4 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 10 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 20,900 people, followed by retail trade with 12,900 people, and education and training with 9,400 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were public administration and safety; manufacturing; and construction. Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 7,400 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 Wide Bay region was $1.5 billion, which was 11 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13 billion).
The Wide Bay 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 ($384 million), followed by sugarcane ($143 million) and mandarins ($142 million). These commodities together contributed 46 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2017–18 the Wide Bay region accounted for 94 per cent ($4 million) of the total value of Queensland's oranges production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2017–18 there were 2,610 farms in the Wide Bay region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 15 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
|Industry classification||Wide Bay region||Queensland|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region
to state total
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||1,423||54.5||8,288||17.2|
|Sugar Cane Growing||336||12.9||2,939||11.4|
|Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing||154||5.9||761||20.2|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||133||5.1||639||20.9|
|Citrus Fruit Growing||73||2.8||201||36.4|
|Other Crop Growing nec||71||2.7||238||29.6|
|Other Grain Growing||63||2.4||985||6.4|
|Beef Cattle Feedlots (Specialised)||62||2.4||123||50.5|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||50||1.9||423||11.8|
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. Beef cattle farms (1,423 farms) were the most common, accounting for 55 per cent of all farms in the Wide Bay region, and 17 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 41 per cent of farms in the Wide Bay region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 8 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2017–18. In comparison, 9 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 48 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Wide Bay region in 2017–18.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all the broadacre, beef, grain, dairy and vegetable farms in Queensland.
In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Wide Bay region was 128,200 hectares, comprised of 13,600 hectares of hardwood plantations and 114,500 hectares of softwood 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 2.3 million hectares of native forests in the Wide Bay region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (855,800 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Woodland (853,200 hectares) and Other native forest (323,900 hectares). The majority of the native forests were privately managed (1,157,100 hectares), while 465,900 hectares were multiple use public forest available for timber production and 412,000 hectares were on in conservation reserves.
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.