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, vegetable, and sugarcane 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 140,200 people (ABS 2011).
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 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 73,800 people were employed in the Toowoomba region. The Toowoomba region accounts for 3 per cent of total employment in Queensland and 16 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 9,600 people, followed by education and training with 8,400 people and retail trade with 8,400 people. The fourth largest employment sector was agriculture and fishing sector which employed 8,300 people, representing 11 per cent of the region's workforce. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction, and professional, scientific and technical services.
Value of agricultural production
In 2015–16, the gross value of agricultural production in the Toowoomba region was $261 million, which was 2 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland ($13.2 billion).
The most important commodities in the Toowoomba region based on the gross value of agricultural production were vegetables ($157 million) including sweet corn ($35 million), lettuce ($25 million) and beans ($22 million). Poultry ($39 million) was the second largest commodity followed by nurseries ($15 million). These commodities together contributed 81 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 579 farms in the Toowoomba region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 3 per cent of all farm businesses in Queensland.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Toowoomba region, 2014–15
|Industry classification||Toowoomba region||Queensland|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)
Other Crop Growing nec
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)
Dairy Cattle Farming
Other Fruit and Tree Nut Growing
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming
Note: Estimated value of agricultural operations $5,000 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 2016
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (320 farms) were the most common, accounting for 55 per cent of all farms in the Toowoomba region, and 3 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 62 per cent of farms in the Toowoomba region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 5 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 12 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $350,000 and accounted for an estimated 80 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Toowoomba region in 2014–15.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, dairy, vegetable, and sugarcane farms in
Census of Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.