Agriculture and Forestry

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Industry Overview

Industry Profile

Trends & Opportunities



Industry Overview

The Central West region has a strong and diverse agriculture sector with major crops, fruits and livestock including wheat, cotton, apples, grapes, beef and lamb. Significant broadacre crops in the region include wheat, barley, oats, canola, sorghum, maize, lupins and triticale. Dairy cattle and meat cattle are prominent types of livestock with a dominance in sheep production. The Central West is also a producer of poultry, with a focus on egg rather than chicken meat production. The number of livestock in the region contributed 16.6% to total NSW production and 5.3% to total Australian production.

The region produces significant quantities of fruit.  Overall, the NSW Central West produced 12.2% of Australia’s nectarines (and 82.7% of New South Wales’ nectarines), 6.4% of Australia’s apples and 4.4% of Australia’s cherries. Organic agriculture and alternative fruit crops such as hazelnuts, figs and feijoas are currently being evaluated as alternative crops for the tablelands and to provide a source of varietal propagation material which could present opportunities for diversification.

The timber industry in the region contributes significantly to the local economies centred around Orange, Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst. The Forestry Corporation manages 70,000 hectares of plantation grown Radiata pine, which is used extensively for housing, medium density fibre boards and laminated timbers. Forestry continues to be an evolving industry supplying timber to meet new housing markets, energy production, carbon storage, and traditional crop and meat based agriculture through farm forestry.

Source: NSW Central West Region Export/Import Contribution Study, 2014, A.P.Sheere Consulting – Investment Opportunities 2013, Forestry Corporation, World Forestry Day highlights importance of forests in the Central West, 19 Mar 2013.


Industry Profile

The Agriculture and Forestry sector continues to be an important industry within the Central West region.

The Gross Regional Product Contribution is $709.52 million, accounting for 7.3% of the region’s GRP, higher than the State average (1.6%).

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector employed approximately 6,842 residents in 2011 representing 9.3% of the region’s resident workforce.


Download the Agriculture and Forestry Industry Profile 2015


Industry Gross Regional Product Contribution

GRP Icon$709.52 million

The Agriculture and Forestry sector accounted for 7.3% of the region’s GRP, higher than the State average (1.6%).


Import Value

Import Icon$173.3 million

The import value of the Agriculture and Forestry sector is $173.3 million, representing 4.1% of total imports.

Specific Agriculture and Forestry sectorValue of sector Imports
2009 -10 $m
% of Total Imports
Other Agriculture$128.63.0%
Agriculture and Forestry Support Services$44.71.1%


Export Value

Export Icon$1.3 billion

The export value of the Agriculture and Forestry sector is $1.3 billion, representing approximately 20% of total exports.


Business Icon5,101

Business entities are actively trading in the Agriculture and Forestry sector.



Employees Icon6,842

People are employed in the Agriculture and Forestry Sector.

Sources: ABS, NIEIR, A.P. SHEERE CONSULTING, NSW Central West Region Export/Import Contribution Study, 2014.


Trends & Opportunities

Continued growth opportunities for  the Agriculture and Forestry sector are expected. Increased global demand and new free trade agreements with several countries in Asia and elsewhere are expected to drive expansion in the sector.

  • Value-adding activities including value added grain, meat and dairy products as well as horticulture.
  • Increased industry research and product development.
  • Organic agriculture and alternative fruit crops such as hazelnuts, figs and feijoas are currently being evaluated as alternative crops and to provide a source of varietal propagation material by the Bathurst Primary Industries Centre. This presents opportunities for diversification.
  • Alternative fruit crops such as nuts, wineries, olives, eggs, bee keeping and local honey.
  • Specialist agriculture – mushrooms, truffles, alpacas.
  • Expansion of the citrus industry.
  • Artisan food producers such as saffron, chocolates, baked products, olives, hazelnuts, condiments, fruit and vegetables
  • Specialist boutique food markets such as restaurants, delicatessens and the export market.
  • Tertiary markets of processed and specialised packaging of farm products.
  • Plant/flower growing, bulb farms and distribution.
  • Cattle breeders and other animal husbandry.
  • Agricultural support services.


CommodityValue of Commodity 2010-2011NSW %
Vegetables$8,983, 5503.8%
Grapes (wine & table)$46,6691.5%
Livestock slaughtering$25,021,77226.3%

Source: ABS Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia 2010-2011