Victoria's agriculture and food industries

The statistics below provide an overview of the current state of Victorian agriculture, covering key aspects of Victorian agriculture: its value of production, its contribution to employment, food and fibre exports, land use and the number of farm businesses. We have sourced the statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) unless otherwise stated.

Gross value of agricultural production

Victoria’s gross value of agricultural production (GVAP) was $17.8 billion in 2019–2020, an increase of 12 per cent from 2018–2019. Victoria Australia’s largest agricultural producer by value, with Victoria’s GVAP representing 29 per cent of Australia’s GVAP.

The major commodities produced in Victoria (by gross value in 2019–2020) were:

Commodity Gross value ($ billion)
Dairy 3.01
Beef 2.91
Sheep meat 2.21
Grains 2.98
Fruit and nuts 2.02
Wool 0.77
Vegetables 1.11
Other agriculture 2.82
Total17.83

Employment in agriculture production and food industries

In 2020–21, a total of 146,600 persons were employed in agriculture production and food manufacturing:

  • 74,800 in agriculture production
  • 71,800 in food and beverage manufacturing

Of all states, Victoria had the largest number of persons employed in agriculture and food industries, contributing 28 per cent to the agriculture and food employment in Australia. According to ABS data, there are an additional 1,400 persons employed in forestry and 5,100 in agriculture, forestry and fishing support services. More than 75 per cent of employment in agriculture production is in regional Victoria.

Of the agricultural industries in Victoria, beef cattle was the largest employer, followed by sheep and grains industries:

IndustryNumber employed
Beef cattle18,783
Sheep12,914
Grains9,560
Dairy cattle8,096
Other fruit7,625
Vegetables5,314
Other livestock4,084
Other agriculture4,051
Poultry1,895
Nuts1,233
Wine grapes1,209

Number of farm businesses

There were 21,700 farm businesses in Victoria in 2019–20, accounting for 25 per cent of farm businesses in Australia. Victoria’s farm numbers have declined by 4 per cent per annum in the past decade, falling from 32,400 in 2010–11 to 21,700 in 2019–20.

Farms producing beef cattle are the most common type of farms in Victoria. Most farms produce more than one commodity, especially among farms producing sheep, cropping and beef cattle.

  • 10,000 farms produce beef cattle
  • 8,600 farms produce sheep
  • 5,900 farms produce grains
  • 3,500 farms produce dairy
  • 2,850 farms produce horticulture for human consumption

Area under farming

The area of land used for agriculture production in Victoria was 11.3 million hectares in 2019–20, or 50 per cent of the state’s total land area. Of the total agricultural land, 42 per cent was used for cropping and 52 per cent for grazing.

Food and fibre exports

Victoria is Australia's largest producer of food and fibre products, and these make up over half of Victoria's total product exports. The state represents 26 per cent of total Australian food and fibre export value. Victoria's food and fibre exports increased by $0.3 billion to reach a record $14.5 billion for the 2019–20 period, comprising:

  • $11.4 billion of food exports
  • $3.1 billion of fibre exports

Victoria's top-earning agricultural exports are:

  • meat – $4.7 billion
  • animal fibre – $1.4 billion
  • dairy – $2.1 billion
  • grains – $1.1 billion
  • horticulture – $1.6 billion
  • wine – $380 million
  • prepared foods – $1.3 billion.

China, USA, Japan, New Zealand and Indonesia were the most valuable markets for Victorian food and fibre exports in 2019–20, accounting for 61 per cent of Victoria’s food and fibre exports.

Latest statistics

The following factsheet covers key aspects of Victorian agriculture: its contribution to the broader economy, exports, land and water use, production trends and productivity.

The Fast Facts supplement the Food and Fibre Economic Factsheet, providing more details on the recent performance of Victorian agricultural industries.

Beef industry fast facts

Dairy industry fast facts

Grains industry fast facts

Horticulture industry fast facts

Pig industry fast facts

Poultry industry fast facts

Sheep industry fast facts

Wine industry fast facts

Wool industry fast facts

Victoria overview

Victoria is a highly productive region, generating 23 per cent of Australia's agricultural output and 30 per cent of its food processing by value. Victoria's climatic diversity means it can produce a wide range of agricultural products, while its compact size and quality infrastructure make it easy to transport agricultural produce to food processing facilities, domestic markets and export facilities.

Find out more:

Overview of major industries

Victoria has a moderate yet diverse climate and is able to produce a highly diverse range of agricultural commodities within a compact area.

Dairy

Victoria is Australia’s major dairy producing and exporting state, accounting for 62 per cent of Australian milk production.

Beef and sheep

Victoria produces more than 40% of Australian lamb, and its beef industry is the most export-oriented of any Australian region.

Other livestock

Chicken meat, eggs and pork products from Victoria have strong demand throughout Australia.

Grains

Victoria’s extensive grain regions have the soils and climate to produce premium quality cereals, pulses, legumes and oilseeds on a large scale.

Horticulture

Victoria’s diverse climate and soils are major assets for horticulture producers. They mean longer growing seasons and a wide range of horticulture products.

Food processing

Victoria is Australia’s major food processor state, accounting for one third of the processed food produced by Australia.

Regional overview

Regional Victoria is divided into nine regions. Find out more about the agricultural products produced in each region.

Barwon

Livestock industries such as dairy, beef and poultry account for nearly 80 per cent of Barwon’s total value of agricultural production and reflect the region’s inherent factors of advantage.

Central Highlands

Central Highlands is uniquely populated with small, niche farms that provide paddock-to-plate meals, creating an ideal opportunity for agritourism growth.

Gippsland

Gippsland farms produce over $2.0 billion in agricultural output each year primarily in beef, dairy and vegetable products.

Goulburn

This region has a long history in food processing, especially dairy and fruit processing with companies such as SPC Ardmona, Unilever and Freedom Foods choosing to process in the region.

Great South Coast

This region is highly suited to livestock production with productive pastures, fertile soils, access to supplementary feed such as grains and hay, and a relatively high and reliable rainfall.

Loddon Campaspe

This region has a diverse landscape that is suitable for many agricultural enterprises and products. It is especially well known for gourmet food and wine offerings.

Mallee

This region is strategically located along important intrastate and interstate transport routes, through the major regional city of Mildura.

Ovens Murray

Beef, dairy and sheep meat account for nearly 73 per cent of Ovens Murray’s total value of agricultural production reflecting this region’s availability of good rainfall, water, pastures and fodder.

Wimmera Southern Mallee

Agriculture plays a prominent role in the regional economy, with grains, sheep meat and wool the main commodities.

Invest in Victorian agriculture and food processing

Discover more about the excellent investment opportunities available across Victoria’s agriculture and food processing sectors. Explore the competitive advantages of Victoria’s diverse regions

Victorian agriculture interactive map

This interactive map provides access to a wide range of agricultural data including processing and production information for the different industry sectors as well as environmental and infrastructure data.

Invest in Victorian Agriculture

Discover more about the excellent investment opportunities available across Victoria’s agriculture and food processing sectors.

Invest in Victorian Agriculture
Page last updated: 13 Aug 2021