Vegetable industry

​​​​​​The Australian vegetable–growing sector is an important source of food. It supplies most of the fresh vegetables consumed in Australia and provides inputs for the processed vegetable products consumed in Australia or exported.

Vegetable growing is the fifth–highest value agricultural industry in Australia, accounting for around 6 per cent of the gross value of agricultural production ($3.4 billion) in 2014–15. Vegetable exports contributed about 1 per cent ($293 million) of agricultural export income in 2014–15, with exports of fresh vegetables contributing to around 60 per cent ($173 million) of total vegetable exports in 2014–15.

Since 2007 ABARES has conducted an annual survey of vegetable-growing farms to provide industry and government with information about farm-level production and the financial situation of vegetable growers.

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the Hort Innovation Vegetable research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Top 10 Australian agricultural industries, by gross value of production, 2014–15

Shows the vegetable industry is the fifth highest ranked industry in 2014–15 measured by gross value of production. After cattle and calves, wheat, milk, and fruit and nuts.
Source: ABARES 2016

Key Issues

  • In 2015–16 average farm cash income of Australian vegetable-growing farms is estimated to have increased to around $249,000 per farm. Vegetable cash receipts increased as a result of higher vegetable production, mainly from an increase in crop yields.
  • The average rate of return (excluding capital appreciation) of Australian vegetable-growing farms increased to 3.0 per cent in 2014–15 and 3.6 per cent in 2015–16.
  • In 2014–15 an estimated 12 per cent of vegetable-growing farms made additions to total capital. These consisted primarily of land purchases but also included plant, machinery and equipment.
  • The majority of debt held by Australian vegetable-growing farms is for working capital management and land purchases. Nationally, farm debt fell by 7 per cent during 2014–15 to an average of $454,200 (in 2015–16 dollars).

Data and other resources

Full report

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Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey, 2014–15 and 2015–16 – Tables and Figures EXCEL 36287 KB
Selected physical and financial characteristics by state - Australian vegetable growing farms: 2014–15 and 2015–16 EXCEL 15281 KB

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Previous reports

Australian vegetable-growing farms: an economic survey 2014-15 and 2015-16
Australian vegetable growing farm businesses: an economic survey 2013-14 and 2014-15
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2012-13 and 2013-14
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2011-12 and 2012-13
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2010-11 and 2011-12
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2009-10
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2008-09 
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2007-08
Australian vegetable growing farms: an economic survey 2006-07
Australian vegetable growing industry: an economic survey 2005-06

Last reviewed:
13 Oct 2017