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 Victoria and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
Victoria covers a total area of around 227,416 square kilometres and is home to approximately 5,354,000 people (ABS 2011). Agricultural land in Victoria occupies 127,952 square kilometres, or around 56 per cent of the state. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 49,100 square kilometres, or 22 per cent of the state (refer to land use map below). The most common land use by area is grazing of modified pasture, which occupies 72,468 square kilometres or 32 per cent of the state.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the February 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 3.1 million people were employed in the state of Victoria.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 399,600 people, followed by retail trade with 326,800 people and manufacturing with 282,100 people. Other important employment sectors in the state were professional, scientific and technical services, construction, and education and training. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 92,300 people, representing 3 per cent of the state's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in Victoria was $13.1 billion, which was 25 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Australia ($53.6 billion).
The most important commodities in Victoria based on the gross value of agricultural production were milk ($3 billion), followed by cattle and calves ($2 billion) and sheep and lambs ($1.4 billion). These commodities together contributed 49 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 26,571 farms in Victoria with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 or more. The state contains 24 per cent of all farm businesses in Australia.
Number of farms, by industry classification, Victoria, 2014–15
|Number of farms||% of Region||Number of farms||Contribution of Vic to Australian total %|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised) ||7,740||29.1 ||38,043||20.3|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||4,711||17.7||14,907||31.6|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised) ||2,987||11.2||9,575||31.2 |
|Other Grain Growing||2,939||11.1||8,374||35.1|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||2,160||8.1||7330||29.5 |
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||1,415||5.3 ||5,820 ||24.3|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||566||2.1||3,230||17.5|
|Other Crop Growing nec||503||1.9||3,197||15.7|
|Other ||1,737||6.5||11,896||14.6 |
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 (7,740) were the most common, accounting for 29 per cent of all farms in Victoria.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 30 per cent of farms in Victoria 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, 7 per cent of farms in the state had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 45 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in Victoria in 2014–15.
Farm financial performance
Estimates of financial performance are available for all broadacre, beef, sheep, grains, dairy and vegetable farms in Victoria.
In 2014–15 the gross value of Victoria's fisheries production (both aquaculture and wild–catch) was $88 million, an increase of 9 per cent ($7.6 million) from 2013–14. Victoria contributed 3 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2014–15. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 67 per cent ($58.7 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 33 per cent ($29.1 million).
Victoria's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products—abalone and Southern rocklobster—which account for 34 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2014–15. Over the last decade the real value of Victoria's wild-caught fisheries products has reduced by 48 per cent to $58.7 million in 2014–15.
The product for which the real value of production declined most over the past decade is wild—caught abalone, falling by 74 per cent to $20.2 million in 2014–15. This is largely attributable to the Abalone Viral Ganglioneuritis disease which has significantly reduced abalone production in the Victorian wild–catch sector in recent years. 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.
Commonwealth fisheries active in the waters off Victoria include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors (supplies gummy shark or 'flake' to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. The Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery, Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) and the Southern Squid Jig Fishery also operate in the waters off Victoria.
In 2014–15 the volume of Victoria's aquaculture production increased by 19 per cent (451 tonnes) to 2,870 tonnes. Salmonids, blue mussels and abalone accounted for 40 per cent, 35 per cent and 15 per cent respectively of this volume and 26 per cent, 15 per cent and 51 per cent respectively of the total value of Victorian aquaculture production in 2014–15.
In 2014–15, fisheries products exported from Victoria were valued at $177 million. This value includes State and Commonwealth fisheries products exported from the ports of Victoria, which may be sourced from Victorian waters or other parts of the country. The main export products include abalone and Southern rocklobster. Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore are the major destinations for Victorian fisheries exports, accounting for 61 per cent, 15 per cent and 7 per cent of the total value of exports in 2014–15, respectively. Other major export destinations include Japan (7 per cent) and China (2 per cent).
Recreational fishing is popular in Victoria. In the national survey of recreational fishers undertaken in the early 2000s it was found that Victoria had approximately 550,000 recreational fishers that fished in the 12 months to May 2000, an estimated 12.7 per cent of Victoria's population (Henry & Lyle 2003). This includes gamefishing for species such as southern bluefin tuna (Green et al 2012). Recreational fishing also includes diving for Southern rocklobster, abalone, and scallops and hook and line fishing for a range of finfish species, such as snapper, King George whiting, black bream and flathead. Freshwater anglers target rainbow and brown trout, as well as native freshwater fish.
In 2013–14, the total plantation area in Victoria was approximately 433,100 hectares, comprised of approximately 206,000 hectares of hardwood plantations, 226,000 hectares of softwood plantations and 1,100 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).
In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, there were approximately 7.7 million hectares of native forests in Victoria, comprised mainly of Eucalypt medium open (approximately 3.1 million hectares), Eucalypt tall open (1.4 million hectares), Eucalypt medium woodland (1.1 million hectares) and Eucalypt mallee woodland (1.1 million hectares) forest types. The majority of native forests are in nature conservation reserves (approximately 3.3 million hectares), approximately 3 million hectares are multiple-use public forest available for timber production and 1.2 million hectares are privately managed (refer to figure below). Major timber industries are located in Ballarat, Beauford, Benalla, Colac, Koondrook, Maryvale, Milltown, Myrtleford, Nowa Nowa, Portland, Wangaratta and Yarram.
In 2014–15, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested was 1.3 million cubic metres valued at $109 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 2.8 million cubic metres valued at $197 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 3.9 million cubic metres valued at $280 million.
Total sales and service income in the Victorian forest and wood product industry was estimated at approximately $6.1 billion in 2013–14, of which $3.6 billion was from the sale of paper and paper products, and the remaining $2.6 billion was generated from other wood product sales.
In 2011, the Victorian forestry sector employed 21,826 workers (0.9 per cent of the total employed workforce in Victoria) compared with 23,672 (1.1 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.
Green C, Brown P, Giri K, Bell J, & Conron S 2012, Quantifying the recreational catch of southern bluefin tuna off the Victorian coast. Recreational Fishing Grant Program, Research Report, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria.
Henry GW & Lyle JM 2003, The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey, FRDC Project No. 99/158.