Irrigated agriculture in Australia now worth more than $15 billion | ABC.net

The value of irrigated agricultural production in Australia has hit more than $15 billion.

Figures released by the Bureau of Statistics this week show that in 2014-15, the Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (GVIAP) rose by 3 per cent, or $509 million.

Irrigated production accounted for 30 per cent of the Gross Value of Agricultural Production (GVAP), which was up 5 per cent to more than $53 billion.

The highest value irrigated commodities were fruit and nuts (excluding grapes) at $2.88 billion, dairy products at $2.83 billion and vegetables at $2.68 billion, accounting for 56 per cent of the total for 2014-15.

The value of most irrigated commodities rose from the previous year except for cotton, which shaved off nearly $1 billion in value, suggested by the Bureau as being due to reduced water availability and unfavourable growing conditions.

In New South Wales

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $3.05 billion, with the value of all agricultural production at $12.1 billion.

Cotton was the most valuable irrigated commodity at $537 million, while production from sheep and other livestock was the most valuable commodity overall at $2.96 billion.

In Victoria

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $4.9 billion, with the value of all agricultural production at $13.1 billion.

Dairy production was the most valuable irrigated commodity at $1.7 billion, and was just edged out as the most valuable overall by production from sheep and other livestock at $3.1 billion.

In Queensland

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $3.5 billion, with the value of all agricultural production at $11.9 billion.

Fruit and nuts were the most valuable irrigated commodity at $853 million, while production from meat cattle was the most valuable commodity overall at $5 billion.

In South Australia

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $1.77 billion, with the value of all agricultural production at $6.2 billion.

Vegetables were the most valuable irrigated commodity at $446 million, while cereals for grain and seed were the most valuable commodity overall at $1.86 billion.

In Western Australia

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $887 million, with the value of all agricultural production at $7.9 billion.

Vegetables were the most valuable irrigated commodity at $253 million, while cereals for grain and seed were the most valuable commodity overall at $3.75 billion.

In Tasmania

The value of irrigated agriculture was not available for publication, but the value of all agricultural production was at $1.4 billion.

Dairy production was the most valuable irrigated commodity reported at $334 million. It was also the most valuable commodity overall at $442 million.

In the Northern Territory

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $69 million, with the value of all agricultural production at $834 million.

Vegetables were the most valuable irrigated commodity at $46 million, while production meat cattle was the most valuable commodity overall at $722 million.

In the Australia Capital Territory

The value of irrigated agriculture was not available for publication, but the value of all agricultural production was at $7.8 million.

Fruit and nuts were the most valuable irrigated commodity at $40,930, while production from sheep and other livestock was the most valuable commodity overall at $2.9 million.

In the Murray Darling Basin

The value of irrigated agriculture was more than $6.9 billion, with the value of all agricultural production at $20.5 billion.

Fruit and nuts were the most valuable irrigated commodity at $1.49 billion, while cereals for grain and seed were the most valuable commodity overall at $4.8 billion.

New app tells when to water

Meanwhile, a new app telling growers when they should irrigate will be available in October.

Developed by Tasmanian company The Yield in conjunction with Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Queensland University of Technology and the vegetable industry, it will provide an estimate of water use and soil water balance.

The Yield managing director Ros Harvey said she hoped it would help farmers make good, fast decisions.

“What we’re facing in an increasingly water-constrained environment is that growers are having to decide where to put their effort and where to put their irrigation,” she said.

“These are very real costs — both the cost of the water and the cost of the electricity to actually irrigate.

“If we can help growers make more fine-tuned decisions around that, that can help in their profitability resilience as a business.”

Initially focussed on brassicas, carrots, lettuce and leafy vegetables, the app will allow growers to enter a location, crop type and crop growth stage.

It will then estimate how much water the crop has used and what remains in the soil, and farmers can then determine if they should irrigate or not.

Source: ABC.net


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