About my region – Greater Adelaide South Australia

​​​​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 fisheries sectors in the Greater Adelaide region and the recent financial performance of the South Australian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.

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​​​​Regional overview

The Greater Adelaide region comprises twenty three local government areas. It includes the city of Adelaide and the regional centres of Gawler and Mount Barker. The region covers a total area of around 3,258 square kilometres or less than 0.5 per cent of South Australia’s total area and is home to approximately 1,225,200 people (ABS, 2011).

Agricultural land in the Greater Adelaide region occupies about 1,750 square kilometres, or 54 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 510 square kilometres, or 16 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pasture which occupies 1,110 square kilometres or 34 per cent of the Greater Adelaide region.

Broad land use in the Greater Adelaide region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Greater Adelaide 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: Land use of Australia 2010–2011 ABARES 2016

Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the May 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 643,200 people were employed in the Greater Adelaide region. The Greater Adelaide region accounts for about 79 per cent of total employment in South Australia and 21 per cent of all people employed in the South Australian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 99,600 people, followed by retail trade with 71,900 people, and manufacturing with 58,300 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction, education and training, and public administration and safety. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 7,000 people, representing 1 per cent of the region's workforce.

Employment profile, Greater Adelaide region, May 2017
Shows the number of people employed in the Greater Adelaide 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 2015–16, the gross value of agricultural production in the Greater Adelaide region was $428 million, which was 7 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in South Australia ($6.2 billion).

The Greater Adelaide region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the Greater Adelaide region based on the gross value of agricultural production were vegetables ($106 million), followed by apples ($64 million) and wine grapes ($47 million). These commodities together contributed 51 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region. In 2015–16 the Greater Adelaide region accounted for almost 100 per cent ($21 million) of the total value of the state's brussel sprouts.

Value of agricultural production, Greater Adelaide region, 2015-16
Shows the gross value of agricultural production in the region in millions of dollars. The figure is discussed in the previous three 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 2017

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 1,646 farms in the Greater Adelaide region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 14 per cent of all farm businesses in South Australia.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Greater Adelaide region, 2014–15
Industry classificationGreater Adelaide region​South Australia
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Grape Growing 55833.91,83030.5
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised) 27316.61,50518.1
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)21012.831866.1
Vegetable Growing (Under Cover)1368.315787.0
Stone Fruit Growing543.311348.0
Beekeeping523.16678.0
Dairy Cattle Farming503.130216.7
Other Grain Growing503.02,9351.7
Apple and Pear Growing452.86075.2
Horse Farming452.714131.8
Sheep Farming (Specialised)352.11,3972.5
Other 1378.32,5285.4
Total agriculture 1,646 100 11,351 14.5

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
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. Grape growing farms (558) were the most common, accounting for 34 per cent of all farms in the Greater Adelaide region, and 31 per cent of all grape growing farms in South Australia.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 58 per cent of farms in the Greater Adelaide 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, 6 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 56 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Greater Adelaide region in 2014–15.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Greater Adelaide region, 2014–15
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Greater Adelaide region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016

Farm financial performance

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

Fisheries sector

King George whiting and Snapper are two primary target species for recreational, commercial and charter fishers in the Greater Adelaide region. Blue crabs and western king prawns are caught mostly in the Gulf St Vincent. Other important wild–catch species include, abalone, southern rocklobster, giant crab and are found along the coast of the region.

In 2014–15 the gross value of South Australia's fisheries production was around $468million, an increase of 19 per cent ($76 million) from 2013–14. South Australia contributed 17 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2014–15. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 51 per cent ($240 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 49 per cent ($227 million).

South Australia's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by four main products—Southern rocklobster, prawns, abalone and Australian sardines—which account for 52 per cent, 15 per cent, 11 per cent and 9 per cent respectively of the total value of wild-caught production in 2014–15. Over the last decade the real value of South Australia's wild-caught fisheries products has increased by 1 per cent to $240 million (2014–15). The product for which the real value of production increased most over the past decade are wild-caught rocklobster, increasing by $38 million. A large proportion of abalone is exported, mostly to Hong Kong, China and Japan. Exchange rate movements have a significant effect on the value of abalone exports and, in turn, production. Prawns are mostly sold in the domestic market, where competition from imports has placed significant downward pressure on prices in recent years.

Most Australian sardine production is used as a high quality feed in tuna ranching operations located off Port Lincoln in South Australia. A small portion also goes toward human consumption, the recreational fishing bait market and premium brands of pet food.

In 2014–15 the value of South Australia's aquaculture production is estimated to have increased by 25 per cent from $181 million in 2013–14 to $227 million in 2014–15. Southern bluefin tuna is the single most valuable species in the region and South Australia's aquaculture industry, and is ranched by the Commonwealth Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery for fattening in sea cages at Port Lincoln. Southern bluefin tuna accounted for 57 per cent (131 million) of the value of South Australian aquaculture production, followed by oysters (12 per cent; $28 million) and abalone (5 per cent; $11 million).

Commonwealth fisheries active in waters off South Australia include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) the Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors (supplies gummy shark or flake to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery and the Great Australian Bight sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery harvesting mainly redfish and flathead. The Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) also operates in the waters off South Australia.

In 2014–15, South Australia's fisheries product exports were valued at $244 million. The main export products include tuna, Southern rocklobster and abalone. Japan and Vietnam are the major destinations for South Australian fisheries exports, accounting for 52 per cent and 28 per cent of the total value of exports in 2014–15, respectively. Other major export destinations include Hong Kong (12 per cent) and Singapore (2 per cent).

Recreational fishing is popular in South Australia with an estimated 236 000 South Australians (5 years and over) participating in the activity in the 12 months prior to October 2007 (PIRSA 2010). In its survey of recreational fishers in South Australia PIRSA (2010) found that most fishing effort is directed to the Gulf St. Vincent and Kangaroo Island waters (42 per cent), followed by Spencer Gulf (27 per cent), West Coast (11 per cent) and the South East waters (7 per cent). Most (87 per cent) fishing effort occurred in marine waters, including estuaries, and inshore and offshore waters. The remaining 13 per cent of effort was in freshwater activity, with the majority of this effort occurring in the River Murray. The key species caught by recreational fishers include King George whiting, snapper, southern garfish, southern calamari, blue swimmer crab, southern rocklobster, mulloway, blacklip and greenlip abalone, pipi, golden perch and murray cod.

References

ABS 2011, Census of Population and Housing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

PIRSA 2010, South Australian recreational fishing guide 2009, Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia, Adelaide.​

Last reviewed:
22 Aug 2017