The Wheatbelt is Western Australia's Agricultural Powerhouse

February 06, 2018 at 11:48 AM

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The latest Agricultural Census figures show that the Wheatbelt remains WA’s largest agricultural powerhouse, contributing $3.4 billion to WA’s agricultural commodities in 2015/16, 40.9% of the State’s total production [Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced]. 

The Wheatbelt generated $1.4 billion of its gross value of agricultural commodities from wheat, accounting for 55% of the State’s total. Other high contributing Wheatbelt commodities included barley $432 million, 52% of the State’s total; wool $349 million, 53% of the State’s total; canola $266 million, 36% of the State’s total; sheep and lambs $249 million, 49% of the State’s total and hay $99 million 52% of the State’s total.

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The Wheatbelt is also WA’s strongest livestock slaughtering and other disposals contributor at $467 million, 27% of the State’s total. This is comprised mostly of sheep and lambs; pigs and cattle and calves, however poultry (broiler) production is not included in this data.

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The Central Coast and Central Midlands sub-regions are strong intensive horticulture regions, with $115 million gross value of agricultural commodities produced in the Shires of Chittering, Gingin, Dandaragan, Dalwallinu, Moora and Victoria Plains, accounting for 14% of the State’s total.

The top three highest contributing vegetable commodities were carrots $14.8 million, 38% of the State’s total; lettuces $14.5 million(60% of the State’s total); and broccoli $7.1 million (30% of the State’s total). All of these commodities (99%+) are produced in the intensive horticultural region located in the Shires of Gingin and Dandaragan.  

The top three highest contributing fruit commodities are oranges $12.6 million (83% of the State’s total); lemons $1.6 million (80% of the State’s total); mandarins $3.7 million (49% of the State’s total); and mangoes $3.3 million (41% of the State’s total). All of these are produced in the Shires of Dandaragan, Gingin and Moora.

“As the Commission has worked with industry to better understand constraints and opportunities, we have been impressed with the level of commitment to innovation and investment to grow a range of industry sectors’’ said WDC CEO Wendy Newman.

 “Also impressive is the global outlook our industry has in terms of new markets, adoption of best practice production techniques and the application of technology to enhance water management and drive productivity.  The industry knows it can’t be complacent.  It can learn a lot from places like the Netherlands, where their vision is “to produce twice as much food using half as many resources.”  As we face competing demands for such resources as water and land into the future, such thinking will be critical in future proofing this industry.”

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