About my region is a series of individual profiles of the agricultural, forestry and fisheries industries in your region. This regional profile presents an overview of the agriculture sector in the Bendigo region and the recent financial performance of the Victorian broadacre, dairy, and vegetable industries.
The Bendigo region is located in central Victoria. The region comprises the three local government areas of Greater Bendigo, Loddon and Mount Alexander, parts of Central Goldfields and Macedon Ranges local government areas, and the major regional centre of Bendigo. The region covers a total area of around 11,800 square kilometres or 5 per cent of Victoria's total area and is home to approximately 157,800 people (ABS 2018).
Agricultural land in the Bendigo region occupies 8,800 square kilometres, or 74 per cent of the region. Areas classified as conservation and natural environments (nature conservation, protected areas and minimal use) also occupy 1,300 square kilometres, or 11 per cent of the region. The most common land use by area is grazing modified pasture, which occupies 5,600 square kilometres or 47 per cent of the Bendigo region (ABARES 2016).
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the August 2020 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 77,400 people were employed in the Bendigo region. The region accounts for 2 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 5 per cent of all people employed in the Victorian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.
Health care and social assistance was the largest employment sector with 14,000 people, followed by construction with 9,000 people, and retail trade with 7,400 people. Other important employment sectors in the region were education and training; accommodation and food services; and public administration and safety. The agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employed 4,400 people, representing 6 per cent of the region's workforce.
Value of agricultural production
In 2018–19, the gross value of agricultural production in the Bendigo region was $614 million, which was 4 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($15.9 billion).
The Bendigo region has a diverse agricultural sector. The most important commodities in the region based on the gross value of agricultural production were sheep and lambs ($132 million), followed by wool ($105 million) and pigs ($54 million). These commodities together contributed 47 per cent of the total value of agricultural production in the region.
Number and type of farms
ABS data indicate that in 2018–19 there were 793 farms in the Bendigo region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 4 per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.
|Industry classification||Bendigo region||Victoria|
|Number of farms||% of region||Number of farms||Contribution of region to state total %|
|Sheep Farming (Specialised)||276||34.8||2,982||9.3|
|Grain-Sheep or Grain-Beef Cattle Farming||165||20.8||1,940||8.5|
|Beef Cattle Farming (Specialised)||90||11.4||4,894||1.8|
|Sheep-Beef Cattle Farming||60||7.6||1,262||4.8|
|Other Grain Growing||54||6.8||1,829||3.0|
|Other Crop Growing nec||28||3.6||258||11.0|
|Dairy Cattle Farming||21||2.7||3,369||0.6|
|Vegetable Growing (Outdoors)||13||1.6||428||2.9|
Note: Estimated value of agricultural operations $40,000 or more. Industries that constitute less than 1 per cent of the region's industry are not shown. nec Not elsewhere classified.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Customised report, 2020
Farms in the table above are classified according to the activities that generate most of their value of production. Sheep farms (276 farms) were the most common, accounting for 35 per cent of all farms in the Bendigo region, and 9 per cent of all sheep farms in Victoria.
Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) is a measure of the value of production from farms and a measure of their business size. Around 27 per cent of farms in the Bendigo region had an EVAO between $50,000 and $150,000. These farms accounted for only 4 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in 2018–19. In comparison, 11 per cent of farms in the region had an EVAO of more than $1 million and accounted for an estimated 45 per cent of the total value of agricultural operations in the Bendigo region in 2018–19.
In 2014–15 the most recent year for which regional data are available, the total plantation area in the Bendigo region was about 1,400 hectares, comprised of 560 hectares of hardwood plantations and 880 hectares of softwood plantations. The main hardwood plantation species in Victoria are Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and shining gum (Eucalyptus nitens). The main softwood plantation species in Victoria is radiata pine (Pinus radiata).
In 2016 there were about 201,300 hectares of native forests in the Bendigo region, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (125,400 hectares), Eucalypt Medium Woodland (46,800 hectares) and Eucalypt Mallee Woodland (21,900 hectares). The majority of the native forests were in conservation reserves (72,900 hectares), while 70,500 hectares were privately managed and 47,400 hectares were on multiple use public forest available for timber production.
Victoria state data
In 2017–18, the total plantation area in Victoria was 420,600 hectares, comprised of 196,300 hectares of hardwood plantations and 223,400 hectares of softwood plantations.
In 2016, Victoria had 34 sawmills (including 9 softwood sawmills), 8 post and pole processors, 3 wood based panel processors and 5 paper and paperboard processors.
In 2016, there were 7.6 million hectares of native forests in Victoria, comprised mainly of Eucalypt Medium Open (3.1 million hectares), Eucalypt Tall Open (1.4 million hectares) and Eucalypt Mallee Woodland (1.3 million hectares).
In 2017–18, the volume of native hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 1.2 million cubic metres, valued at $103.5 million. The volume of plantation hardwood logs harvested in Victoria was 3.6 million cubic metres, valued at $262.3 million. The volume of plantation softwood logs harvested in Victoria was 4.3 million cubic metres, valued at $341.5 million.
In 2017–18, the estimated sales and service income generated from the sale of wood products in Victoria was $3.6 billion. Sales and service income for paper and paper products is not available for 2017–18.
In 2016, the Victoria forestry sector employed 15,105 workers (0.60 per cent of the total employed workforce in Victoria) compared with 20,167 (0.74 per cent) in 2011. The number of people employed includes the following categories: forestry and logging, forestry support services, wood product manufacturing and pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.
ABARES 2016, Land Use of Australia 2010–11, ABARES, Canberra, May.
ABARES 2018, Catchment scale land use of Australia – December 2018, Canberra, December.
ABS 2018, Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2017, cat. no. 3235.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 10 January 2019.
ABS 2020a, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, August 2020, cat. no. 6291.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 12 December 2020.
ABS 2020b, Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2018-19, cat. no. 7503.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, accessed 29 May 2020.