Our CommunityOverview of Agriculture in Tasmania Tasmanian Agriculture has many variations in soil types, topography and climate, all this adds to the attraction of Tasmania combining with the natural beauty of the State offering a pleasant life style and environment to live and work in. Agricultural production covers a wide range, from traditional pursuits grazing, dairy vegetables, and forestry to smaller niche products such as essential oils, goats. Within the mainstream areas there are also a number of new crops and niche areas being developed, such as pyrethrum, canola and new varieties of wheat..
The state has had and continues to promote a clean green image and is backing this up with initiatives to Quality Assurance Programs in many areas.
Rainfall is generally reliable in most areas with average annual falls varying across the state and within regions.
The following are indicative district averages from the Bureau of Meteorology
Region Average Annual Rainfall Millimetres
Low Head 685
Currie K.I. 903
Whitemark F.I 750
Rainfall is concentrated in Autumn, Winter and Spring with some areas receiving significant summer falls most years.
Severe drought is rare in most areas, but drier periods are not uncommon.
The climate is generally described as Temperate Maritime with cooler winters and summer temperatures around the mid 20 degrees C. Frosts occur in the inland areas and are less frequent along the coastal regions. Snow is rare in the main agricultural areas, with most falls occurring above 600 metres elevation.
The majority of farm irrigation is generated from on farm storage and water rights issued on rivers. There a some larger schemes in the State such as the Cressy/Longford Scheme in the North, the Winnaleah Scheme in the North East and the Coal River Scheme in the South. All water rights from rivers are currently under review.
Vary across the state and within districts. The main soil types are Red Basalt soils in the North West and North East. This soil type is suitable for most activities in particular Vegetable cropping and Dairy. Areas of the North Coast and King and Flinders Island have a grey sandy/loam soil type suited to cropping and dairy in the higher rainfall areas or where irrigation is available, otherwise activity is limited to broad acre grazing and cropping enterprises.
The Midlands and Northern river plains areas have fertile river flats rising to lighter sandier soils along with areas of bush run country. Where water is available intensive cropping is pursued, otherwise broadacre cropping and grazing activities. The bush run country is lightly stocked for fine wool production.
The coastal areas and midlands tends to be flat to undulating, whilst the red basalt soils of the North West and North East are undulating to steep, most of these slopes are suitable for cropping with steeper areas for grazing or left in a natural state.
Vegetable Production, includes the following crops Potatoes, Peas, Onions, Beans, Carrots, Cabbages and Broccoli most product is grown for the fresh markets locally and on the mainland or direct on contract to the 2 main processors. Additionally Poppies are grown on contract to two local processors, a newer crop Pyrethrum is grown on contract A number of smaller processors and direct marketers exist in the State.
Traditional crops are also grown Barley for Malting and Feed , Wheat and Oats. Forward contracts are available on these crops. Crop Photo Grazing
Sheep are grazed for both wool and meat production and Tasmania continues to hold a reputation for quality fine and superfine wool, free of dust and vegetable matter. Prime lamb production is also taking a greater role in the Sheep industry.
Sheep & Cattle
Beef production is an important part of agriculture, with most fattening in the North of the State, calves are purchased from the Southern autumn sales and finished in the north.
These industries are supported by abattoirs in the North and by Mainland buyers shipping cattle. The industry has developed a Computer selling system (C.A.L.M.) which has widened competition for livestock.
The industry has undergone significant growth over recent years with grazing properties converted to dairy and on farm productivity, giving rise to greater cow numbers and production. The industry has 3 main processors plus fresh milk market processors and smaller niche cheese makers. The industry undergone significant expansion to cope with the increased milk flow with a new plant at Spreyton near Devonport.
The following table is some brief Statistics from the 1996 Australian Dairy Compendium
Tasmania Australia No Of dairy farms 819 13,888
No Of Dairy Cows 1990 92,000 1,654,000
No Of Dairy Cows 1996 128,000 1,924,000
Av Production per Cow 3,857 4,589
Total Litres Milk Million 514 8,716
Milk for Liquid Consumption 50 1,909
Indicative Prices per Litre 24.3 26.3
The lower production per cow reflects Tasmania’s lower supplementary feed inputs and cost of production. The total production versus liquid milk consumption is an indication of Tasmania’s export orientated industry.
General Agricultural Statistics
Dairy Cattle 185,000
Beef cattle 507,400
Sheep & Lambs 3,852,900
Red Meat carcass weight (tonnes) 76,5111
Milk Million Litres 436
Wool Tonnes 17,577
Barley for Grain tonnes 27,073
Beans tonnes 8,462
Peas tonnes 37,946
Onions tonnes 73,537
Potatoes tonnes 255,738
Oil poppies tonnes 7,764
Gross value of production $M 659.9
Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Tasmania at a Glance 1996)
Total Population Tasmania 1991 452,834
Centre Population Centre Population
Hobart 127,106 Deloraine 2,098
Launceston 68,779 Westbury 1,292
Devonport 22,660 Cressy
Burnie 20,505 Longford 2,601
Wynyard 4,670 Oatlands 522
Smithton 3,500 Campbelltown 820
Latrobe 2,550 Scottsdale 2,020
The State has excellent schooling in most areas and boarding facilities are available in Launceston and Hobart for senior school children if required.
Regular bus services are available to all areas with connections from Launceston and Hobart.
All major Churches are represented in most areas and many run private schools in local areas.
Major airports are located at Hobart Launceston Devonport and Burnie with connections to the Islands from these centres.
Shipping is covered with regular passenger and vehicle ferries from Devonport and Georgetown to Melbourne. General cargo is shipped daily from a number of ports in the North of the State and some direct international shipping is available.
Tasmania offers a wide range of pursuits being an Island and with numerous lakes all forms of water activities are easily undertaken fishing, diving, skiing and sailing. Tasmania’s wild trout fishery is world renowned for excellence in rivers and mountain lakes. There are numerous historic sites to visit and magnificent rural, mountain and coastal scenery to enjoy.
All major centres offer a selection of restaurants entertainment and accommodation, along with excellent shopping facilities with local crafts a feature.
Most Sporting pursuits are well catered for with local club activities and intra and interstate competitions in many sports.
With access to all this within easy driving distance combine to make a pleasant and varied lifestyle.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this memorandum is of general information nature only. Specific details should be sought on individual industries and areas.