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 sector in the Toowoomba region and the recent Queensland financial performance of the broadacre, dairy and vegetable industries.
The Toowoomba region of Queensland is located in the south–east of the state. The region comprises the local government area of Lockyer Valley and part of Toowoomba, and the major regional centre of Toowoomba. The region covers a total area of around 2,258 square kilometres or less than 0.5 per cent of Queensland's total area and is home to approximately 153,200 people (ABS 2017).
Agricultural land in the Toowoomba region occupies 1,697 square kilometres, or 75 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 322 square kilometres, or 14 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing native vegetation, which occupies 761 square kilometres or 34 per cent of the Toowoomba region.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2018 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 74,800 people were employed in the Toowoomba region. The Toowoomba region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 7 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 12,800 people, followed by construction with 7,000 people, and retail trade with 6,200 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were accommodation and food services; education and training; and manufacturing. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 4,100 people representing 5 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2016–17, the gross value of agricultural production in the Toowoomba region was $276 million, which was 2 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($14 billion).
The most important commodities in the Toowoomba region based on the gross value of agricultural production were vegetables ($211 million) including sweet corn ($45 million), lettuce ($40 million) and beans ($36 million). Milk ($12 million) was the second largest commodity followed by cattle and calves ($11 million). These commodities together contributed 85 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2015–16 there were 296 farms in the Toowoomba region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 2 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Toowoomba region, 2015–16
|Industry classification||Toowoomba region||Queensland|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||80||26.9||8,466||0.9|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||55||18.7||679||8.2|
|Other Crop Growing
|Dairy Cattle Farming||24||8.2||498||4.9|
|Other Grain Growing||17||5.8||1,127||1.5|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||11||3.8||688||1.7|
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. Beef cattle farms (80 farms) were the most common, accounting for 27 per cent of all farms in the Toowoomba region, and 1 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 50 per cent of farms in the Toowoomba 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, 17 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 70 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Toowoomba region in 2015–16.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, grain, dairy and vegetable farms in