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 South Australia – South East region and the recent financial performance of the South Australian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
The South Australia – South East region stretches from the area adjacent to the Victorian border to Kangaroo Island in the west. The region comprises nineteen local government areas and the major regional centres of Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Naracoorte and Renmark. The region covers a total area of around 65,450 square kilometres or 6.7 per cent of South Australia's total area and is home to approximately 177,100 people (ABS 2011).
Agricultural land in the South Australia – South East region occupies 48,368 square kilometres, or 74 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 12,725 square kilometres, or 19.5 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pasture, which occupies 31,800 square kilometres or 49 per cent of the South Australia – South East region.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 87,100 people were employed in the South Australia – South East region. The South Australia – South East accounts for 11 per cent of total employment in South Australia and 42 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 14,200 people, representing 16 per cent of the region's workforce. Health care and social assistance was the second largest with 11,600 people, followed by manufacturing with 10,700 people and retail trade with 10,300 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were education and training, accommodation and food services, and construction (Figure 1).
Value of agricultural production
In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in the South Australia – South East region was $2.8 billion, which was 45 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in South Australia ($6.2 billion).
The South Australia – South East region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the South Australia – South East region based on the gross value of agricultural production were cattle and calves ($388 million), followed by wine grapes ($335 million) and sheep and lambs ($282 million). These commodities together contributed 36 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
In 2014–15 the South Australia – South East region accounted for 99 per cent of the total value ($143 million) of South Australia's onion production.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 5,398 farms in the South Australia – South East region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The region contains 48 per cent of all farm businesses in South Australia.
Number of farms, by industry classification, South Australia – South East region, 2014–15
|Industry classification||South East region||South Australia|
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||1,089||20.2||1,505||72.4|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||827||15.3||1,397||59.2|
|Other Grain Growing||591||10.9||2,935||20.1|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||541||10.0||626||86.5|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||519||9.6||1,207||43.0|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||240||4.4||302||79.6|
|Citrus Fruit Growing||133||2.5||140||95.1|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||90||1.7||318||28.3|
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
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1,089) were the most common, accounting for 20 per cent of all farms in the South Australia – South East region, and 72 per cent of all beef cattle 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 33 per cent of farms in the South Australia – South East region had an EVAO of less than $50,000. These farms accounted for only 2 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 8 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 54 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the South Australia – South East region in 2014–15.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in
The South Australia – South East region has an extensive seafood industry including wild–catch and aquaculture. King George whiting and Snapper are two primary target species of recreational, commercial and charter fishers in the region. Other popular wild–catch species include, abalone, southern rocklobster, giant crab, sardine found throughout the coast of the region with blue crabs and western king prawns found mostly in Gulf St Vincent.
Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, oysters, abalone and mussel aquaculture are produced in this region. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout aquaculture is concentrated on the southeast coast of Cape Jaffa and Rivoli Bay, while oysters, mussel and abalone farming operating mostly around Kangaroo Island.
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 (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.
In 2010–11, the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the South Australia – South East region was approximately 174,500 hectares, comprised of approximately 57 200 hectares of hardwood plantations, 117,200 hectares of softwood plantations and 100 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). Major timber processing industries are located in Mount Gambier, Nangwarry and Millicent.
In 2011, there were approximately 679,300 hectares of native forests in the South Australia – South East region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt mallee woodland (427,100 hectares), Eucalypt medium woodland (107,300 hectares), Eucalypt mallee open (71,800 hectares) and Eucalypt low woodland (57,500 hectares) forest types. Approximately 326,100 hectares are privately owned, 267,400 hectares are in nature conservation reserves and 55,500 hectares are leasehold forest.
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.
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.