About my region – Barossa—Yorke—Mid North South Australia
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 Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region and the recent financial performance of the South Australian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
The Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region of South Australia is located in the south–east of the state, north of Adelaide and includes the Yorke Peninsula. The region comprises fourteen local government areas and the regional centres of Clare, Peterborough, Port Pirie, Tanunda and Wallaroo. The region covers a total area of around 37,600 square kilometres or 4 per cent of South Australia's total area and is home to approximately 113,600 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region occupies 34,700 square kilometres, or 92 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 2,340 square kilometres, or 6 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is dryland cropping, which occupies 15,740 square kilometres or 42 per cent of the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2019 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 52,100 people were employed in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region. The region accounts for 6 per cent of total employment in South Australia and 25 per cent of all people employed in the South Australian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the largest employment sector with 8,200 people, representing 16 per cent of the region's workforce. Health care and social assistance was the second largest employment sector with 6,000 people, followed by education and training with 5,500 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were retail trade; manufacturing; and accommodation and food services.
Value of agricultural production
In 2017–18, the gross value of agricultural production in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region was $2 billion, which was 30 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in South Australia ($6.6 billion).
The Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were wheat ($502 million), followed by barley ($233 million) and sheep and lambs ($148 million). These commodities together contributed 44 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 2,901 farms in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 32 per cent of all farm businesses in South Australia.
|Industry classification||Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region||South Australia|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Other Grain Growing||1,109||38.2||1,813||61.1|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||872||30.1||1,910||45.7|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||281||9.7||1,273||22.1|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||70||2.4||675||10.3|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||68||2.3||578||11.7|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||33||1.1||216||15.1|
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. Other grain growing farms (1,109 farms) were the most common, accounting for 38 per cent of all farms in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region, and 61 per cent of all other grain growing farms in South Australia.
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 Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 3 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2017–18. In comparison, 15 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 Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region in 2017–18.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms in South Australia.
The Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region of South Australia has an extensive seafood industry including wild–catch and aquaculture. The most common commercial wild–catch species include: King George whiting, snapper, abalone, southern rock lobster, giant crab, and sardines found throughout the coast of the region. Blue crabs and western king prawns are caught mostly in Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf. The Spencer Gulf, due to its ideal breeding conditions, is the world's largest known population of western king prawns. South Australian oyster farming is an emerging industry on the Yorke Peninsula at Port Broughton, Port Vincent, Stansbury and Coobowie Bay.
In 2015–16 the gross value of South Australia's fisheries production was around $517 million, an increase of 10 per cent ($48 million) from 2014–15. South Australia contributed 17 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2015–16. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 51 per cent ($265 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 49 per cent ($252 million).
South Australia's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by four main products — Southern rock lobster, prawns, Australian sardines and abalone — which account for 52 per cent, 17 per cent, 10 per cent and 8 per cent respectively of the total value of wild-caught production in 2014–15. Over the last decade the real value of South Australia's wild-caught fisheries products has increased by 7 per cent to $265 million (2015–16). The product for which the real value of production increased most over the past decade are wild-caught rock lobster, increasing by $34 million. A large proportion of abalone is exported, mostly to Hong Kong, China and Japan. Exchange rate movements have a significant effect on the value of abalone exports and, in turn, production. Prawns are mostly sold in the domestic market, where competition from imports has placed significant downward pressure on prices in recent years.
Most Australian sardine production is used as a high quality feed in tuna ranching operations located off Port Lincoln in South Australia. A small portion also goes toward human consumption, the recreational fishing bait market and premium brands of pet food.
In 2015–16 the value of South Australia's aquaculture production is estimated to have increased by 11 per cent from $227 million in 2014–15 to $252 million in 2015–16. Southern bluefin tuna is the single most valuable species in the region and South Australia's aquaculture industry, and is ranched by the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery for fattening in sea cages at Port Lincoln. Southern bluefin tuna accounted for 50 per cent (127 million) of the value of South Australian aquaculture production, followed by oysters (12 per cent; $31 million) and abalone (6 per cent; $15 million).
Commonwealth fisheries active in waters off South Australia include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) the Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors (supplies gummy shark or flake to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery and the Great Australian Bight sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery harvesting mainly redfish and flathead. The Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) also operates in the waters off South Australia.
In 2014–15, South Australia's fisheries product exports were valued at $250 million. The main export products include tuna, Southern rock lobster and abalone. Japan and Vietnam are the major destinations for South Australian fisheries exports, accounting for 49 per cent and 23per cent of the total value of exports in 2015–16, respectively. Other major export destinations include Hong Kong (13 per cent), China (3 per cent) and Singapore (2 per cent).
Recreational fishing is popular in South Australia with an estimated 277,027 South Australians (5 years and over) participating in the activity in the 12 months prior to November 2013. In its survey of recreational fishers in South Australia found that most fishing effort is directed to Spencer Gulf (37 per cent), the Gulf St. Vincent and Kangaroo Island waters (28 per cent), followed by West Coast (16 per cent) and the South East waters (6 per cent). Most (87 per cent) fishing effort occurred in marine waters, including estuaries, and inshore and offshore waters. The remaining 13 per cent of effort was in freshwater activity, with the majority of this effort occurring in the River Murray. The key species caught by recreational fishers include Australian salmon, blue swimmer crab, King George whiting, mulloway, snapper, southern calamari, southern garfish, southern rock lobster and pipi.
In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Barossa – Yorke – Mid North region was 8,400 hectares, comprised of 500 hectares of hardwood plantations and 7,900 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in South Australia are Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and other eucalyptus species (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood plantation species in South Australia is Radiata Pine (Pinus radiata). There is no native hardwood harvesting in South Australia.
In 2016 there were 261,400 hectares of native forests in the Barossa – Yorke – Mid North region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Mallee Woodland (149,400 hectares), Other native forest (28,800 hectares) and Eucalypt Low Woodland (26,000 hectares). The majority of the native forests were privately managed (182,200 hectares), while 39,000 hectares were in conservation reserves and 28,000 hectares were on leasehold land.
South Australia state data
In 2017–18, the total plantation area in South Australia was 172,200 hectares, comprised of 44,800 hectares of hardwood plantations and 127,200 hectares of softwood plantations.
In 2016, South Australia had 13 sawmills, 2 post and pole processors, 2 wood-based panel processors and one paper and paperboard processor.
In 2016, there were 4.8 million hectares of native forests in South Australia, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Mallee Woodland (3.7 million hectares), Casuarina (252,400 hectares) and Eucalypt Mallee Open (208,100 hectares).
In 2017–18 the volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 1.1 million cubic metres valued at $88.0 million. The volume of softwood logs harvested was 3.1 million cubic metres valued at $245.7 million. There is no native hardwood harvesting in South Australia.
In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in South Australia was $1.2 billion. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2017–18.
In 2016 the South Australia forestry sector employed 5,520 workers (0.74 per cent) of the total employed workforce in South Australia compared with 6,500 (0.88 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 16 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.