The Australian grains industry is defined by three broad regions – comprising 13 agroecological zones – with distinct climate, cropping and market characteristics.
We manage research, development and extension investments and service to meet the needs of each region. We do this through three regional offices:
- Adelaide (southern region)
- Perth (western region)
- Toowoomba (northern region).
There are also two satellite office in Horsham and Wagga Wagga. The national office is based in Canberra.
The northern region encompasses Queensland and New South Wales and generally has high inherent soil fertility.
It has relatively high seasonal rainfall and production variability compared with the other two regions. Both summer and winter crops are important for profit.
It also has the highest diversity of crop production, including:
- tropical and winter-growing pulses
The northern region is the largest source of Australia’s premium hard high-protein wheat for export and domestic use. Demand for feed grains from the region’s important livestock industries is a key driver of grain production.
- high proportion of vertosol clay soils
- tropical, sub-tropical and temperate environments
- summer dominant cropping in Queensland, winter dominant cropping in NSW
- high proportion of mixed farming, including livestock, sugarcane, cotton and pastures
- large and diverse domestic and export markets.
The southern region encompasses south-eastern Australia, which includes:
- South Australia.
The south has a diverse suite of soils. It’s generally low fertility with many subsoil constraints, such as salinity, sodicity and toxic levels of some elements. Although, there are also some areas with very productive soils.
Yield potential depends on seasonal rainfall, especially in autumn and spring, and there is less dependence on stored soil moisture than in the northern region.
Crop production systems are varied and include many mixed farming enterprises with significant livestock and cropping activities.
- relatively infertile soils
- temperate climate
- yield depends on reliable spring rainfall
- smaller enterprise size and diverse production patterns and opportunities
- innovative phase farming with perennials
- shift toward intensive livestock production and demand for feed grains
- large and diverse domestic market.
Comprises the cropping areas of Western Australia, where soil fertility is generally low to very low. Yields depend on winter and spring rainfall.
In many areas, yields are low by world standards, but this is compensated for by the large scale and degree of mechanisation of the enterprises. Long-term variability in seasonal rainfall and production is lower in the coastal areas than in the northern and southern regions.
The dominant crops are:
Livestock enterprises in mixed farming systems are often of less importance. The western region has a relatively small population and feed industry, and consequently exports more than 85 per cent of its grain production.
- Mediterranean climate
- low soil fertility
- yield depends upon good winter rainfall, as spring rainfall is generally unreliable
- large enterprise size
- narrower range of crop options
- export market dominant, domestic market smaller
- leader in grain storage practice
- transport advantage to South East Asia.
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