Grains and oilseeds are Australia’s largest category of food exports, representing 24 per cent of total agricultural exports. Grain farming spans diverse landscapes, each with its own unique climatic and geographical challenges. Despite this, Australian growers are highly competitive internationally, while also supplying high-quality products for domestic consumption.
- $9 billion (annual farm gate value)
- 34 million tonnes (total annual production)
- 20 million hectares (farmland sown to grains)
A strong culture of innovation has driven sustained productivity growth. Beginning in the late 1970s, productivity increased by an average of 1.9 per cent p.a. over three decades – well above rates for Australian industry as a whole.
- Better grain varieties and improved agronomy
- More efficient machinery
- Better business decisions
Recent productivity growth has slowed – partly due to prolonged drought. A continuing decline in growers’ terms of trade has created renewed impetus for higher levels of productivity growth.
Australia’s grains industry comprises of three main regions, each with different climate and soil characteristics and diverse management requirements. Each region is divided into a series of zones based on specific ecological attributes.
While all regions produce mainly winter cereals, other significant crops are pulses and oilseeds.
- Encompasses Queensland and New South Wales
- Generally high soil fertility
- High crop diversity (includes wheat, maize, sorghum, barley and oilseeds)
- Yield largely dependent on conserving soil moisture from summer rainfall
- Regional demand for livestock feed is a key production driver
- Includes Victoria, Tasmania and south-eastern South Australia
- Generally lower fertility soils
- Yield largely dependent on autumn and spring rainfall
- Varied crop production systems, including mixed farming enterprises
- Comprises cropping areas of Western Australia
- Low yield, large scale farming
- Yield largely dependent on winter and spring rainfall
- Dominant crops are wheat, barley, canola and lupins
- Exports 85 per cent of Australia’s grain production
More about our growing regions and agroecological zones.