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About my region – Central West 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 Central West region and the recent financial performance of the New South Wales broadacre, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane industries.

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Regional overview

The Central West region of New South Wales is located west of Sydney and the Great Dividing Range, extending from Lithgow into the plains areas surrounding Condobolin and West Wyalong. The region comprises the eleven local government areas of Bathurst Regional, Bland, Blayney, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid—Western Regional, Orange, Parkes and Weddin, and parts of Blue Mountains, Cabonne, Oberon, Singleton, Warrumbungle Shire and Western Plains Regional. The region covers a total area of around 70,298 square kilometres or 8.78 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 210,800 people (ABS 2017).

Agricultural land in the Central West region of New South Wales occupies 57,244 square kilometres, or 81 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 9,776 square kilometres, or 14 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 38,075 square kilometres or 54 per cent of the Central West region of New South Wales.

Broad land use in the Central West region
Shows a map of broad land use in the New South Wales - Central West region. It includes a legend which shows the broad land use categories— nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use; grazing native vegetation; production forestry; grazing modified pastures; plantation forestry; cropping; horticulture; intensive uses and water. This map is discussed in the above paragraph.
Source: Catchment scale land use of Australia ABARES 2017

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2018 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 100,900 people were employed in the Central West region. The region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in New South Wales and 11 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 17,100 people, followed by accommodation and food services with 9,800 people, and construction with 9,500 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were retail trade; agriculture, forestry and fishing; and manufacturing. Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 7,900 people, representing 8 per cent of the region’s workforce.

Employment profile, Central West region, May 2018
Shows the number of people employed in the Central West region by industry in thousands. The figure is discussed in the previous two paragraphs.
Note: Annual average of the preceding 4 quarters.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 6291.0, Labour Force, Australia 2018

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in the Central West region was $1.7 billion, which was 12 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales of $14.5 billion.

The Central West region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were wheat ($366 million), followed by cattle and calves ($303 million) and wool ($235 million). These commodities together contributed 52 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In addition, in 2016–17 the Central West region accounted for 94 per cent ($36,000) of the total value of the state’s brussel sprout production.

Value of agricultural production, Central West region, 2016–17
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the Central West region in millions of dollars. The figure is discussed in the previous two paragraphs.
Note: The graph shows only data published by the ABS. Some values were not published by the ABS to ensure confidentiality. The "Other commodities" category includes the total value of commodities not published as well as those with small values.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 7503.0, Value of agricultural commodities produced, Australia 2018

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2015–16 there were 3,903 farms in the Central West region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 15 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Central West region, 2015–16
Industry classificationCentral West regionNew South Wales
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming84321.63,10527.1
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)80920.77,09511.4
Sheep Farming (Specialised)75319.33,42322.0
Other Grain Growing59515.22,98419.9
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming47412.12,53118.7
Horse Farming852.272611.7
Other Crop Growing nec521.326719.6
Dairy Cattle Farming451.28685.2
Grape Growing411.04838.5
Other2075.34,2344.9
Total agriculture 3,903 100 25,716 15.2

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. nec Not elsewhere classified.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Grain-sheep or grain-beef cattle farms (843 farms) were the most common, accounting for 22 per cent of all farms in the Central West region, and 27 per cent of all grain-sheep or grain-beef cattle 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 39 per cent of farms in the Central West region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 9 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2015–16. In comparison, 9 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 42 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Central West region in 2015–16.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Central West region, 2015–16
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Central West region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Note: Only farms with an EVAO of $50,000 or more in 2015–16 are included in these data. The scope of ABS Rural Environment and Agricultural Collections changed in 2015–16 to include only agricultural businesses with an EVAO of $40,000 or greater.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017

Farm financial performance

Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in New South Wales.

Forestry sector

In 2014–15, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Central West region was 87,000 hectares, comprised almost completely of softwood plantations. The main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2011, there were 1.9 million hectares of native forests in the Central West region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (1.0 million hectares), Eucalypt medium open (296,000 hectares), Callitris (110,500 hectares), Eucalypt mallee woodland (89,100 hectares) and Casuarina (84,400 hectares) forest types. There were 1.1 million hectares of the native forests privately owned, 509,100 hectares were in nature conservation reserves, 168,300 were in leasehold forest and 147,700 hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major timber processing industries are located at Oberon and Raglan.

In 2015–16, the total plantation area in New South Wales was 394,400 hectares, comprised of 87,100 hectares of hardwood plantations, 307,100 hectares of softwood plantations and 100 hectares of other plantations.

In 2015–16, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in New South Wales was 876,000 cubic metres valued at $110 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 63,000 cubic metres valued at $5 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 4.7 million cubic metres valued at $344 million. These values and volumes include New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Total sales and service income in the New South Wales forest and wood product industry was estimated at $8.9 billion in 2015–16. The income generated from the sale of wood products was $4.6 billion, and the income generated from the sale of paper and paper products was $4.3 billion.

In 2016, the New South Wales forestry sector employed 17,571 workers (0.5 per cent of the total employed workforce in New South Wales) compared with 22,250 (0.7 per cent) in 2011. The number of people employed includes the following categories: forestry, logging, support services, timber wholesaling; and wood, pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.

Area of native forest, by tenure, Central West region
Shows areas of native forest by tenure in the Central West region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraphs.
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013

References

ABS 2017, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2016, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 19 September 2017.

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Last reviewed:
08 Nov 2018