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Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Tasmania, 2016

Research by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural
and Resource Economics and Sciences

About my region
December 2016

circular graphic with inter-woven images of agriculture, forestry and fisheries activities

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2016

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ABARES 2016, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Tasmania, 2016. About my region, Canberra, December. CC BY 3.0.

ABARES project 43009

Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)
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The Australian Government acting through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, represented by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, has exercised due care and skill in preparing and compiling the information and data in this publication. Notwithstanding, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, ABARES, its employees and advisers disclaim all liability, including for negligence and for any loss, damage, injury, expense or cost incurred by any person as a result of accessing, using or relying upon information or data in this publication to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Acknowledgements
ABARES relies on the voluntary cooperation of farmers participating in the annual Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey, Australian Dairy Industry Survey, Australian Vegetable Growing Farms Survey to provide data used in the preparation of this report. Without their help, these surveys would not be possible. ABARES farm survey staff collected most of the information presented in this report through on-farm interviews with farmers. In addition, in 2015 a survey of sugarcane producing farms was conducted in Queensland and New South Wales.

This state profile was updated by Clay Mifsud, Aruni Weragoda, Jeremy van Dijk, Peter Martin, Milly Lubulwa, Dale Ashton, Mark Oliver, Beau Hug, Robert Curtotti, Jacob Savage, Peter Lock, Geoff Dunn, Lucy Randall and Evert Bleys.

Contents

Sectors

Regional overview

Employment

Agricultural sector

Fisheries sector
Forestry sector
References

Tables

Value of agricultural production 2014–15
Number of farms, by industry classification 2014–15
Financial performance, Tasmania broadacre industries, 2013–14 to 2015–16, average per farm
Financial performance, Tasmania dairy industry, 2013–14 to 2015–16, average per farm
Physical and financial performance, Tasmania vegetable industry, 2012–13 to 2014–15, average per farm

Figures

Employment profile, November 2015
Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, 2014–15
Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Real farm cash income, beef industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Real farm cash income, sheep industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Real farm cash income, dairy industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm
Real farm cash income, vegetable industry, 2005–06 to 2014–15, average per farm
Area of native forest, by tenure, Tasmania

Maps

Broad land use in Tasmania
ABARES Australian broadacre zones and regions

Boxes

Definitions

Regional overview

Tasmania covers an area of around 68 401 square kilometres and is home to approximately 495 354 people (ABS 2011). Agricultural land in Tasmania occupies 18 900 square kilometres, or around 28 per cent, mostly in the north and east of the state (refer to land use map below). Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) occupy 32 650 square kilometres, or 48.5 per cent of the state. The most common land use by area is nature conservation, which occupies 19 400 square kilometres or 29 per cent, mostly in the west and south–west of the state (refer to land use map below).

Broad land use in Tasmania

Broad land use in Tasmania. Refer to preceeding text.
Source: Catchment scale land use of Australia — update March 2014 (ABARES, 2015)


Employment

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2015 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 237 200 people were employed in Tasmania.

Health Care and Social Assistance was the largest employment sector with 34 500 people, followed by Retail Trade with 27 400 people and Education and Training with 19 700 people (refer to figure below). The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector employed 14 300 people, representing 6 per cent of the state's workforce.

Display: Colour graph Tabular data Both graph and table

Employment profile, Tasmania, November 2015

Refer to tablular data for details: Employment profile, Tasmania, November 2014 Note: Annual average of the preceding 4 quarters
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 6291.0, Labour Force, Australia (ABS, 2015)

Agricultural sector

Value of agricultural production

In 2014–15, the gross value of agricultural production in Tasmania was $1.4 billion, which was about 3 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Australia ($53.6 billion).

The most important individual commodities in Tasmania (refer to figure below) based on the gross value of agricultural production were milk ($442 million), followed by cattle and calves ($247 million) and potatoes ($161 million) (refer to table below). These commodities together contributed 59 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the state.

Display: Colour graph Tabular data Both graph and table

Value of agricultural production, Tasmania, 2014–15

Refer to tablular data for details: Value of agricultural production, Tasmania, 2014–15
Note:
The graph shows only data published by the ABS. Some values were not published by the ABS to ensure confidentiality (shown as 'not available' in tabular data).
a The "Other commodities" category includes the total value of commodities not published, including lettuce and poultry, as well as those with small values.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 7503.0, Value of agricultural commodities produced, Australia (ABS, 2016b)
 

Number and type of farms

ABS data indicate that in 2014–15 there were 3 156 farms in Tasmania with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5 000 or more (refer to table below). The state contains about 3 per cent of all farm businesses in Australia.


Number of farms, by industry classification, Tasmania, 2014–15
Industry classification Tasmania Australia
Number of farms % of StateNumber of farmsContribution of Tas
to Australian total
%


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
   nec Not elsewhere classified
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised) 1 197 37.9 38 043 3.1
Dairy Cattle Farming 416 13.2 14 907 2.8
Sheep Farming (Specialised) 404 12.8 9 575 4.2
Vegetable Growing (Outdoors) 273 8.7 8 374 3.3
Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming 196 6.2 7 330 2.7
Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming 141 4.5 5 820 2.4
Grape Growing 86 2.7 4 294 2.0
Horse Farming 74 2.3 3 402 2.2
Other Grain Growing 64 2.0 3 230 2.0
Other 304 9.6 15 092 2.0
Total agriculture 3 156 100 110 068 2.9

Farms in table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Beef cattle farms (1 197) were the most common, accounting for 38 per cent of all farms in Tasmania.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 48 per cent of farms in Tasmania had an EVAO of less than $50 000 (refer to figure below). These farms accounted for only 3 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2014–15. In comparison, 15 per cent of farms in the state had an EVAO of more than $500 000 and accounted for an estimated 73 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in Tasmania in 2014–15.

Display: Colour graph Tabular data Both graph and table

Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Tasmania, 2014–15

Refer to tablular data for details: Distribution of farms by estimated value of agricultural operations, Tasmania, 2013–14
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Farm financial performance — Tasmania

Each year, ABARES interviews Australian broadacre, dairy and vegetable producers as part of its annual survey program. Broadacre industries covered in ABARES survey include the grains, grains-livestock, sheep, beef and sheep-beef industries. The information collected is a basis for analysing the current financial position of farms in these industries and expected changes in the short term. This paper uses data from the ABARES Australian agricultural and grazing industries survey (AAGIS), Australian dairy industry survey (ADIS), and Australian vegetable growing industry survey to report estimates of financial performance indicators (Definitions) for broadacre, dairy and vegetable farms in Tasmania.

Definitions
Major financial performance indicators
  • Total cash receipts: total revenue received by the business during the financial year.
  • Total cash costs: payments made by the business for materials and services and for permanent and casual hired labour (excluding owner manager, partner and family labour).
  • Farm cash income: total cash receipts - total cash costs
  • Farm business profit: farm cash income + changes in trading stocks - depreciation - imputed labour costs
  • Profit at full equity: return produced by all the resources used in the business, farm business profit + rent + interest + finance lease payments - depreciation on leased items
  • Rate of return: return to all capital used, profit at full equity * 100 / total opening capital
  • Equity ratio: Farm capital minus farm debt expressed as a percentage of farm capital
Industry types
  • Grains: farms mainly engaged in producing broadacre crops such as wheat, coarse grains, oilseeds and pulses, and including farms running sheep and/or beef cattle in conjunction with substantial broadacre crop activity.
  • Sheep: farms mainly engaged in running sheep.
  • Beef: farms mainly engaged in running beef cattle.
  • Dairy: farms mainly engaged in milk production.
  • Vegetable: farms mainly engaged in growing vegetables.

Performance of broadacre farms — Tasmania

Farm cash income of broadacre farms in Tasmania (refer to ABARES Australian broadacre zones and regions map below) is projected to have declined by 25 per cent in 2015–16 to an average of $96 000 a farm (refer to table and figure below). This would be lower than the relatively high farm cash income recorded in 2014–15 of $128 500 but still around 36 per cent above the 10-year average to 2014–15.

Tasmanian broadacre cash receipts are projected to have declined by 8 per cent in 2015–16 because of reduced production resulting from dry seasonal conditions. Receipts from beef cattle are projected to decrease from the historical high recorded in 2014–15. Receipts from sheep, lambs and wool are projected to decrease despite increased prices for wool, because of reduced livestock turn-off and lower wool production.

Total cash costs are expected to have increased in by 1 per cent in 2015–16. This is driven by higher expenditure on fodder resulting from dry seasonal conditions and small increases in most other farm costs except livestock purchases.

Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Refer to tablular data for details: Real farm cash income, broadacre industries, average per farm
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Financial performance, Tasmania broadacre industries
2013–14 to 2015–16, average per farm
Performance indicator 2013–14 2014–15 p RSE 2015–16 y


Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate
a Excludes capital appreciation
b Excludes leased plant and equipment
c Average per responding farm
d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital
e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July
f Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse
na Not available
Total cash receipts ($) 303 940 388 000 (8) 358 000
Total cash costs ($) 234 800 259 600 (10) 262 000
Farm cash income ($) 69 140 128 500 (10) 96 000
Farms with negative farm cash income (%) 20 10 (52) 12
Farm business profit ($) 8 800 26 700 (39) -3 000
Profit at full equity a ($) 37 110 58 400 (21) 29 000
Farm capital at 30 June b ($) 3 608 790 3 956 200 (7) na
Farm debt at 30 June c ($) 409 130 454 000 (18) 472 000
Equity ratio c d (%) 89 88 (2) na
Rate of return a e (%) 1.0 1.5 (20) 0.7
Off-farm income c f ($) 33 030 31 500 (22) na

ABARES Australian broadacre zones and regions

 ABARES Australian broadacre zones and regions
Note: Each region is identified by a unique code of three digits. The first digit identifies the state or territory, the second digit identifies the zone and the third digit identifies the region.
Source: ABARES

Performance of beef industry farms — Tasmania

Average farm cash incomes of beef industry farms nearly doubled in 2014–15 to average $106 000 a farm. Higher beef cattle turn-off in combination with an increase in average sale prices received, resulted in beef cattle receipts increasing on Tasmanian beef industry farms. In addition, reduction in expenditure on purchases of beef cattle together with lower interest rates reduced farm cash costs.

In 2015–16, farm cash income of Tasmanian beef industry farms is projected to have remained largely unchanged, averaging $105 000 a farm and well above the 10–year average. Beef cattle receipts are projected to have declined with reduced cattle turn-off and sale of lighter weight cattle as a result of dry seasonal conditions.

This decline contrasts with the increase in beef cattle receipts expected nationally (refer to graph below).

Real farm cash income, beef industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Refer to tablular data for details: Real farm cash income, beef industry, average per farm
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Performance of sheep industry farms — Tasmania

In 2014–15, farm cash income of Tasmanian sheep industry farms is estimated to have increased to average $149 000 a farm. Farm cash income increased as a result of higher sheep and lamb turn-off together with an increase in the quantity of wool sold and higher prices received for sheep and wool.

In 2015–16, farm cash income of Tasmanian sheep industry farms is projected to have declined by 47 per cent to an average of $79 000 a farm (refer to figure below), around 13 per cent below the 10–year average to 2015–16. Dry seasonal conditions are expected to have resulted in lower farm receipts as a result of reduced prices for sheep and lambs sold, reduced turn-off of sheep and lower wool production. In addition, farm cash costs are projected to have risen as a result of increased expenditure on fodder purchases.

Real farm cash income, sheep industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Refer to tablular data for details: Real farm cash income, sheep industry, average per farm
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Agricultural and Grazing Industries Survey

Performance of dairy industry farms — Tasmania

Average farm cash income of Tasmanian dairy farms decreased from an average of $238 130 a farm in 2013–14 to $221 800 in 2014–15 (refer to table below). An increase of 11 per cent in average milk production per farm was not sufficient to offset lower prices received for milk and increased farm cash costs, particularly expenditure on fodder.

In 2015–16, farm cash income of Tasmanian dairy industry farms is projected to have declined further to an average of $123 000 a farm (refer to figure below), around 15 per cent below the 10–year average to 2015–16. This reflects the effects of lower forecast milk prices and a further increase in expenditure on fodder purchases as a result of drier seasonal conditions and increased fodder prices in 2015–16.

Real farm cash income, dairy industry, 2001–02 to 2015–16, average per farm

Refer to tablular data for details: Real farm cash income, dairy industry, average per farm
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey


Financial performance, Tasmania dairy industry
2013–14 to 2015–16, average per farm
Performance indicator 2013–14 2014–15 p RSE 2015–16 y


Source: ABARES Australian Dairy Industry Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate
a Excludes capital appreciation
b Excludes leased plant and equipment
c Average per responding farm
d Equity expressed as a percentage of farm capital
e Rate of return to farm capital at 1 July
f Off-farm income of owner manager and spouse
na Not available
Total cash receipts ($) 1 115 710 1 162 600 (6) 1 086 000
Total cash costs ($) 877 580 940 800 (7) 963 000
Farm cash income ($) 238 130 221 800 (10) 123 000
Farms with negative farm cash income (%) 0.0 6.0 (83) 17
Farm business profit ($) 123 100 112 700 (24) -14 000
Profit at full equity a ($) 258 530 256 900 (14) 137 000
Farm capital at 30 June b ($) 5 684 980 6 403 300 (9) na
Farm debt at 30 June c ($) 1 740 440 1 728 600 (14) 1 851 000
Equity ratio c d (%) 69 73 (4) na
Rate of return a e (%) 4.7 4.1 (14) 2.0
Off-farm income c f ($) 6 730 35 700 (81) na

Performance of vegetable industry farms — Tasmania

There were an estimated 231 vegetable growing farms in Tasmania in 2014–15. Most of these farms were located in the north of the state along the coastal fringe and through the northern midlands. Average farm cash income of vegetable growing farms in Tasmania is estimated to have remained largely unchanged in 2013–14 compared with 2012–13 at around $137 000 a farm (refer to table below). The average area planted decreased across all vegetable commodities, although yields were marginally higher for potatoes, reflecting the better than average seasonal conditions for most farms.

Physical and financial performance, Tasmania vegetable industry,
2012–13 to 2014–15, average per farm
Selected estimates 2012–13 RSE 2013–14 p RSE 2014–15 y RSE


Source: ABARES Australian Vegetable Growing Farms Survey
RSE Standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate provided
p Preliminary estimate
y Provisional estimate
Vegetable cash receipts ($) 321 730 (16) 395 700 (20) 321 000 (24)
Area sown to vegetables (hectares) 27 (15) 29 (9) 24 (23)
Quantity vegetables produced (tonnes) 1 131 (12) 1 238 (12) 1 074 (13)
Farm cash income ($) 135 360 (20) 136 900 (17) 164 000 (27)

Farm cash income is estimated to have increased in 2014–15 to average $164 000 a farm (refer to figure below). Lower overall vegetable receipts, mostly as a result of lower prices for potato, green peas and green bean, were more than offset by a reduction in estimated average total cash costs. Cash costs declined in 2014–15 relative to 2013–14, including hired labour, fertiliser, contracts paid and fuel.

Real farm cash income, vegetable industry, 2005–06 to 2014–15, average per farm

Refer to tablular data for details: Real farm cash income, vegetable industry, average per farm
Note: y Provisional estimate.
Source: ABARES Australian Vegetable Growing Farms Survey

Fisheries sector

Tasmania has a range of wild–catch finfish, crustacean, mollusc and aquaculture fisheries production. Hobart is the main fishing port in Tasmania servicing fishers across a range of commercial fishing activities. The Greater Hobart region is also renowned for its significant Atlantic salmon aquaculture sector. In the region, the Derwent River, Frederick Henry Bay and Norfolk Bay estuaries are popular sites for both recreational and commercial fishing. The rest of Tasmania is predominantly a wild–catch production area for shellfish, in particular Southern rock lobster, abalone and scallop, and finfish occurring mostly along the south west coast of Tasmania and at King Island. The Tasmanian greenlip abalone population is abundant along the north coast and around the Bass Strait islands. King Island is a large centre for giant crab production. Georges Bay and Ansons Bay are key shellfish producing areas, including cockles, clams and some aquaculture oysters. The ports of Bridport and St. Helens are important landing sites for scallop fishers operating in both Commonwealth and Tasmanian fisheries. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout aquaculture also occurs in Macquarie Harbour.

In 2013–14 the gross value of Tasmanian fisheries production is estimated to be around $735 million, an increase of 6 per cent ($41 million) from 2012–13. Tasmania contributed 30 per cent of the total value of Australian fisheries production in 2013–14. In value terms, the wild–catch sector accounted for 24 per cent ($175.8 million) of the state's total production and the aquaculture sector accounted for the remaining 76 per cent ($559 million).

Tasmania's wild–catch fisheries sector is dominated by two main products, abalone and southern rock lobster, which account for 47 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively, of the total value of wild-caught production in 2013–14. Over the past decade the real value of Tasmania's wild–caught fisheries products has reduced by 6 per cent to $175.8 million 2013–14. The decline in value was driven by 39 per cent decline in the total volume of wild–catch fisheries products.

The product for which the real value of production declined most over the past decade is abalone (both wild–caught and aquaculture), falling by 28 per cent to $86 million in 2013–14. This was the result of a 28 per cent reduction in volume. 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.

Southern rock lobster accounts for a significant proportion of Tasmanian wild–catch production, accounting for 21 per cent and 48 per cent of the total volume and value, respectively, of wild–catch production in 2013–14. The value of Southern rock lobster exports increased by 47 per cent in 2013–14, primarily reflecting a 27 per cent increase in the export unit price from Tasmania.

Commonwealth fisheries active in the Tasmania region include the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (main source of domestic fresh fish for Sydney and Melbourne markets) and the Shark Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector (supplies gummy shark or 'flake' to Melbourne) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. The Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery and Small Pelagic Fishery (mostly fishmeal for aquaculture and agriculture) also operate in the waters off Tasmania.

The importance of aquaculture in Tasmanian fisheries production increased over the past decade. Over the past decade the real value of aquaculture production tripled reaching $559 million in 2013–14, representing around 76 per cent of the state's fisheries production. Most of the growth in aquaculture production is attributed to increases in the output of farmed salmonid species, in particular Atlantic salmon.

Forestry sector

In 2013–14, the total plantation area in Tasmania was approximately 310 700 hectares, comprised of approximately 235 600 hectares of hardwood plantations and 75 100 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood species planted are blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens), and the main softwood species planted is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).

There were approximately 3.4 million hectares of native forests in Tasmania in 2011 (the most recent data available), comprised mainly of eucalypt medium woodland (approximately 1.1 million hectares), eucalypt tall open (829 000 hectares), rainforest (708 400 hectares) and eucalypt tall woodland (261 600 hectares) forest types. Approximately 1.2 million hectares of native forests are in nature conservation reserves, while 875 300 hectares are privately managed and 923 200 hectares are multiple–use public forest available for timber production (refer to figure below).

In 2016 Tasmania's wood processing industries comprised sawmills utilising native hardwood and plantation softwood logs, hardwood veneer, pulp and paper manufacturing, and log and woodchip export facilities. These mills are located throughout Tasmania. The major timber processing centres include Bell Bay, Boyer, Launceston and Smithton. The principal ports exporting forest products are located at Bell Bay, Burnie and Hobart.

Display: Colour graph Tabular data Both graph and table

Area of native forest, by tenure, Tasmania

Refer to tablular data for details: Area of native forest, by tenure for Tasmania figure
Source: ABARES Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013

In 2014–15, the volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested was 1.3 million cubic metres valued at $95 million. The volume of native hardwood logs harvested was 1.1 million cubic metres valued at $73 million. The volume of softwood harvested was 1.1 million cubic metres valued at $63 million.

Sales and service income in the Tasmanian wood product industry was estimated at approximately $335 million in 2013–14.

In 2011, the Tasmanian forestry sector employed 3 526 workers (1.7 per cent of the total employed workforce in Tasmania) compared with 5 390 (2.7 per cent) in 2006. The number of people employed includes forestry support services and timber wholesaling.

References

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

ABS 2015, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Nov 2015, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003, Australian Bureau Statistics, Canberra.

ABS 2016a, Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2014–2015, cat. no. 7121.0, Australian Bureau Statistics, Canberra.

ABS 2016b, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2014–15, cat. no. 7503.0, Australian Bureau Statistics, Canberra.

ABARES 2015, Catchment scale land use of Australia – update March 2015, ABARES, Canberra, April. CC by 3.0. http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/display?url=http://143.188.17.20/anrdl/DAFFService/display.php?fid=pb_luausg9abll20150415_11a.xml

ABARES 2016, Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2015, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra, May.

Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia and National Forest Inventory Steering Committee 2013, Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013, ABARES, Canberra, December.