Australia is a major agricultural producer and exporter. Agriculture and its closely related sectors earn $155 billion-a-year for a 12% share of GDP. Australian farmers and graziers own 135,997 farms, covering 61% of Australia’s landmass. Across the country there is a mix ofirrigation and dry-land farming. The CSIRO has forecast that climate change will cause decreased precipitation over much of Australia and that this will exacerbate existing challenges to water availability and quality for agriculture.
There are three main zones: the high rainfall zone of Tasmania and a narrow coastal zone (used principally for dairying and beef production); wheat, sheep zone (cropping (principally winter crops), and the grazing of sheep (for wool, lamb and mutton) plus beef cattle) and the pastoral zone (characterised by low rainfall, less fertile soils, and large scale pastoral activities involving the grazing of beef cattle and sheep for wool and mutton). An indicator of viability of agriculture in the state of South Australia is whether land is within Goyder's Line.
Major agricultural products
Australia produces a large variety of primary products for both export and domestic consumption. The forecast top ten agricultural products by value are listed for year 2006-07, with production figures from previous years.
|Cattle and calves||6,617||5,849||6,345||7,331||7,082||6,517|
|Fruit and nuts||2,333||2,408||2,350||2,640||2,795||2,915|
|Value in millions of Australian dollar|