About my region – Barossa—Yorke—Mid North 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, fisheries, and forestry sectors in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region and the recent financial performance of the South Australian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.

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​​​Regional overview

The Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region of South Australia is located in the south–east of the state, north of Adelaide and includes the Yorke Peninsula. The region comprises fourteen local government areas and the regional centres of Clare, Peterborough, Port Pirie, Tanunda and Wallaroo. The region covers a total area of around 37,717 square kilometres or 4 per cent of South Australia's total area and is home to approximately 106,500 people (ABS 2011).

Agricultural land in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region occupies 34,700 square kilometres, or 92 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 2,328 square kilometres, or 6 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is dryland cropping, which occupies 15,740 square kilometres or 42 per cent of the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region.

Broad land use in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region
Shows a map of broad land use in the Barossa-Yorke-Mid North 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 48,300 people were employed in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region. The region accounts for 6 per cent of total employment in South Australia and 24 per cent of all people employed in the South Australian Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the largest employment sector with 7,900 people, representing 16 per cent of the region's workforce. Manufacturing was the second largest with 7,100 people, followed by retail trade with 5,200 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were construction, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services.

Employment profile, Barossa—Yorke—Mid North 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 Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region was $1.7 billion, which was 27 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in South Australia ($6.2 billion).

The Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were wheat ($410 million), followed by poultry ($204 million) and barley ($196 million). These commodities together contributed 48 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.

Value of agricultural production, Barossa—Yorke—Mid North 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 2,994 farms in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 26 per cent of all farm businesses in South Australia.

Number of farms, by industry classification, Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region, 2014–15
Industry classificationBarossa—Yorke—Mid North region​South Australia
Number of farms% of RegionNumber of farmsContribution of region to state total %
Other Grain Growing1,49349.92,93550.9
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming50416.81,20741.7
Grape Growing 37512.51,83020.5
Sheep Farming (Specialised)30910.31,39722.1
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)772.61,5055.1
Other Crop Growing nec481.67861.9
Pig Farming441.511637.7
Other 1444.82,2846.3
Total agriculture 2,994 100 11,351 26.4

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. Grain growing farms (1,493) were the most common, accounting for 50 per cent of all farms in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region, and 51 per cent of all grain 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 27 per cent of farms in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 1 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. 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 Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region in 2014–15.

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region, 2014–15
Shows share of farms and share of value of agricultural operations in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North 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

The Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region of South Australia has an extensive seafood industry including wild–catch and aquaculture. The most common commercial wild–catch species include: King George whiting, snapper, abalone, southern rocklobster, giant crab, and sardines found throughout the coast of the region. Blue crabs and western king prawns are caught mostly in Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf. The Spencer Gulf, due to its ideal breeding conditions, is the world's largest known population of western king prawns. South Australian oyster farming is an emerging industry on the Yorke Peninsula at Port Broughton, Port Vincent, Stansbury and Coobowie Bay.

In 2014–15 the gross value of South Australia's fisheries production was around $468 million, 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 [2]. 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.

Forestry sector

In 2010–11, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Barossa – Yorke – Mid North region was approximately 8,700 hectares, comprised of approximately 8,000 hectares of softwood plantations and 700 hectares of hardwood plantations. The main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata) and the main hardwood species planted is blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus). Major timber processing industries are located at Nuriootpa and Williamstown.

In 2011, there were approximately 230,900 hectares of native forests in the Barossa – Yorke – Mid North region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt mallee woodland (143,600 hectares), Eucalypt low woodland (26,500 hectares), Eucalypt medium woodland (14,400 hectares), Eucalypt medium open (13,700 hectares), Eucalypt mallee open (13,200 hectares) and Melaleuca (8,600 hectares) forest types. Approximately 157,700 hectares of the native forests are privately owned, 34,700 hectares are in nature conservation reserves and 30,000 hectares are leased forests.

In 2013–14, the total plantation area in South Australia was approximately 188,500 hectares, comprised of approximately 59,700 hectares of hardwood plantations and 128 500 hectares of softwood plantations and 300 hectares of other plantations. The main hardwood species planted is blue gum (Eucalyptus.globulus), and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

In 2014–15, the volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 862 000 cubic metres valued at $68 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 2.7 million cubic metres valued at $173 million.

Total sales and service income in the South Australian forest and wood product industry was estimated at approximately $1.7 billion in 2013–14. The income generated from the sale of wood products was valued at approximately $879 million while the remaining $811 million was generated from the sale services associated with paper and paper products.

In 2011, South Australia's forestry sector employed 6,498 workers (0.9 per cent of the total employed workforce in South Australia) compared with 7,812 (1.2 per cent) in 2006. The number of people employed includes forestry support services and timber wholesaling.

Areas of native forest, by tenure, Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region
Shows the areas of native forest, by tenure in the Barossa—Yorke—Mid North region. The figure is discussed in the previous paragraph.
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013

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.

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Last reviewed:
23 Aug 2017