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Australia is traditionally a wool, a meat and a wheat exporter. However, because of the development of other parts of the Australian economy, the farm products share of the Australian GDP has been reduced over the last century.  In the first half of the 20th century it accounted for about a quarter of Australia's GDP and between 70 and 80 per cent of exports. Today it has fallen to approximately 3.3 % of GDP while it accounts for around 20 % of Australia’s exports. Apart from being a major exporter of wine, beef, sheep-meats, oats and wool, Australia is the fourth exporter of wheat in the world, and the world's second largest exporter of raw sugar (DAFF- Australian Government) and supplies with raw sugar to new refineries in Taiwan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia .

According to the Productivity Commission research paper, "Trends in Australian Agriculture" released in July 2005, Australian agriculture more than doubled its output in real terms in 40 years, despite the impact of severe droughts.

The increase was achieved without any rise in the number of agricultural workers, reflecting strong productivity growth.

Agricultural population (in thousands)

Total population

19 913

Agricultural population


Non agricultural population

19 060

Source : 2004, FAOSTAT

Land use

Cultivated surface area

439 500 000

Irrigated surface area

2 545 000

Number of farms


Number of tractors

315 000

Source : 2003, FAOSTAT

Production indicators

Main crops

Product Production (in thousands) Harvested surface (1000 ha) Yield by hectare (kg/ha)
Sugar cane 37822 434 87157
Wheat 25090 12626 1987
Barley 9869 4738 2083
Grapes 2027 153 13228
Sorghum 2011 755 2663

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT


Specie Headcount (in thousands)
Sheep 101125
Cattle 27782
Pigs 2538
Goats 461
Beehives 360

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT

Fishing (in metric tons)

Shellfish, mollusks and cephalopods Saltwater fish Freshwater fish
91 812 177 846 3 159

Source : 2005, FAOSTAT