Grains, oilseeds and pulses

​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, January 2018

These fact sheets provide current information about how the Australian Government is supporting the agriculture, fisheries and water sectors, and are available for download.


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Grains, oilseeds and pulses

The grains industry is a substantial contributor to Australia’s economy. Production of grains, oilseeds and pulse crops accounted for around 29% ($18 billion) of the total value of farm production and around 30% of the total value of farm export income in 2016–17.

Around one quarter of Australian agricultural businesses will produce some amount of grains, oilseeds or pulses in a typical year. Wheat is the most important individual crop by tonnage and value. In 2016–17 wheat production was worth $8.7 billion, making up almost half of the total value of production for the Australian grains industry. Total wheat production was around 35 million tonnes or 57% of total grains industry tonnage.

Building a stronger grains industry

The Australian Government is driving a more profitable, resilient and sustainable grains sector by:

  • providing dollar-for-dollar matching funds of $71.9 million in 2016–17, alongside the research and development (R&D) funding already invested by the grains sector via levies, or R&D initiatives to advance the grains industry
  • providing $18 million to fund the Centre for Crop and Disease Management over the next 5 years through the Grains Research and Development Corporation
  • providing funding through the Rural R&D for Profit program for a range of innovative projects—for example, $5.5 million to develop recently discovered pasture legumes and innovative management techniques for improved profitability for mixed farms (crops and livestock) across Australia’s low and medium rainfall regions
  • negotiating improved market access arrangements for various grains, oilseeds and pulses to countries including Bangladesh, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam
  • providing the National Farmers’ Federation and the National Irrigators’ Council with grants totalling $343,970 from the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund
  • reviewing the Wheat Port Code to ensure wheat exporters have fair and transparent access to port services without unnecessary red tape 
  • improving farmer access to seasonal workers by reducing the tax rate to 15% for those on working holidays​
  • implementing a comprehensive foreign investment framework for agriculture to improve transparency and give the community and investors confidence in our foreign investment arrangements
  • introducing new country of origin labelling laws making it easier for consumers to see how much of their food is Australian made, grown or produced
  • introducing legislation to establish an ‘effects test’ in national competition law to protect small businesses from the impact of anti-competitive conduct by large, counterparty businesses
  • providing $25.8 million over 4 years to help manage the effects of pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas, and an additional $50 million for pest animals and weeds across Australia.

Key Facts

  • Wheat is the second most valuable agricultural commodity produced in Australia, after beef.
  • In 2016–17 the average farm cash income of grain farms is forecast to be $290,000—the highest in more than 20 years in real terms.
  • Australia exported 22 million tonnes of wheat in 2016–17, valued at $6.1 billion.
  • Australia exported 9.5 million tonnes of barley in 2016–17, valued at $2.4 billion.
  • Canola was the highest value oilseed export in 2016— 3.6 million tonnes were exported at a value of $2.1 billion.
  • Chickpea export volume in 2016–17 was 2.0 million tonnes, valued at $1.9 billion.
  • In 2016–17, 21% of Australia’s wheat was exported to Indonesia. Vietnam, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea are other major export markets.

Export markets for wheat 2016–17


Further information
General inquiry 1800 900 090
GPO Box 858, Canberra ACT 2601 ​

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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