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

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​​​​​​​Regional overview

The New England and North West region of New South Wales is located in the north of the state and west of the Great Dividing Range, including the tableland areas around Armidale and north to the Queensland border. The region comprises the eleven local government areas of Glen Innes Severn, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tamworth Regional, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha, and most of the Armidale Regional local government area. The region covers a total area of around 99,145 square kilometres or 12.4 per cent of New South Wales and is home to approximately 185,800 people (ABS 2017).

Agricultural land in the New England and North West region occupies 79,364 square kilometres, or 80 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 14,434 square kilometres, or 15 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pastures, which occupies 39,187 square kilometres or 40 per cent of the New England and North West region.

Broad land use in the New England and North West region
Shows a map of broad land use in the New England and North 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 2016

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 80,100 people were employed in the New England and North West region. The region accounts for 2 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 14,000 people, followed by education and training with 8,800 people. Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the third largest employment sector with 8,500 people, representing 11 per cent of the region's workforce. Other important employment sectors in the region were public administration and safety; construction; and retail trade.

Employment profile, New England and North West region, November 2017
Shows the number of people employed in the New England and North 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 2017

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in the New England and North West region was $3 billion, which was 21 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in New South Wales ($14.5 billion).

The New England and North West 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 ($687 million), followed by cotton ($650 million) and wheat ($482 million). These commodities together contributed 60 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2016–17 the New England and North West region accounted for 100 per cent ($1 million) of the total value of the state's peanuts production.

Value of agricultural production, New England and North West region, 201617
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the New England and North 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 4,425 farms in the New England and North West region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 17 per cent of all farm businesses in New South Wales.

Number of farms, by industry classification, New England and North West region, 2015–16
Industry classificationNew England and North West region New South Wales
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised) 1,823 41.2 7,095 25.7
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming 659 14.9 2,531 26.0
Other Grain Growing 618 14.0 2,984 20.7
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming 408 9.2 3,105 13.1
Sheep Farming(Specialised) 375 8.5 3,423 11.0
Cotton Growing 167 3.8 286 58.4
Horse Farming 127 2.9 726 17.5
Other247 5.6 5,565 4.4
Total agriculture    4,425 100 25,716 17.2

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 2017

Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1,823 farms) were the most common, accounting for 41 per cent of all farms in the New England and North West region, and 26 per cent of all 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 41 per cent of farms in the New England and North West 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 2015–16. In comparison, 13 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 59 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the New England and North West region in 2015–16.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, New England and North West region, 2015–16
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the New England and North 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 New England and North West region was 25,100 hectares, comprised of 11,600 hectares of hardwood plantations and 13,400 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted is shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens) and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2011, there were 4.0 million hectares of native forests in the New England and North West region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium woodland (1.1 million hectares), Eucalypt medium open (942,000 hectares), Callitris (540,900 hectares) and Rainforest (106,100 hectares) forest types. There were 2.4 million hectares of native forests privately owned, 809,800 hectares were in nature conservation reserves and 392,600 hectares were multiple-use public forest available for timber production. Major timber processing industries are located at Urbenville, Walcha and Glen Innes.

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, New England and North West region
Shows areas of native forest by tenure in the New England and North 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:
14 Jun 2018