Key Contributor

Agriculture is an important contributor to the Tasmanian economy and lifestyle.

Large scale production of meat, vegetables, dairy products, poppies and fruit for local and export markets are the backbone of the agriculture sector. On another level, boutique cheese makers, wineries and award-winning beers enhance the States reputation as a food lover's paradise.

Tasmanian agriculture is characterised by its great diversity.

The State's temperate climate, reliable rainfall, clean air, and productive soils are the basis for its diverse and efficient agricultural sector. An absence of many major pests and diseases found in other parts of Australia complement the natural advantage Tasmania enjoys.

Tasmania along with places such as South Africa, New Zealand and Chile is able to supply fresh, temperate produce out-of-season to the Northern Hemisphere.

Expansion in Commodities

In recent years there has been expansion in traditional, commodity-based agriculture such as dairy, beef and cropping, and also in higher value, niche products, such as apricots, cherries, grapes, game meat, nuts, truffles, wasabi, essential oils, buckwheat and saffron.

At the farm level, agriculture contributes around five per cent of gross state product and six per cent of all employment. However, much of the agricultural product is further value added within the state. When agriculture and its related input and output sectors are combined the contribution to the economy is 16 per cent of gross state product and 20 per cent of all employment.

The gross value of agriculture has in recent years increased strongly from $700 million to around $900 million.

Diverse Agricultural Sector

The variation in climate and soils throughout the state has contributed to the development of its diverse agricultural sector. On a broad scale that diversity includes the following animal and plant industries:

Animal Industries

  • Dairy
  • Wool
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Poultry
  • Apiary (honey bees)

Plant Industries

  • Vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Poppies
  • Pyrethrum
  • Pome fruit
  • Stone fruit
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Essential Oils

Broad Land Use

Mean Minimum Air Temperature - North West

Tasmania’s Agricultural Produce

Much of Tasmania’s agricultural produce is further processed within the state:

  • Processed vegetables
  • Dairy products (cheese, milk powders, butter)
  • Confectionary (chocolate)
  • Beef & lamb
  • Beer
  • Poppies
  • Pyrethrum

Milk is value-added as various dairy products plus chocolate. There are factories and processing plants at Devonport, Wynyard and Launceston(Fonterra), Burnie (Lion Dairy and Drinks, Betta Milk, and Mondelez (Cadbury)), Smithton and Edith Creek (Murray Goulburn), King Island (Lion Dairy and Drinks/King Island Dairies) and Hobart (Mondelez (Cadbury) and Lion Dairy and Drinks).

Beef dominates the Tasmanian red meat industry, with the lamb industry being about a fifth of the value of the beef industry. There are processing plants operating at Smithton (H W Greenham) and Longford and Devonport (JBS Australia).

Tasmania produces high quality malting barley used in beer production. There are breweries in Launceston and Hobart (Boags & Cascade).

The medicinal poppy industry has been operating in Tasmania for over 30 years, and the State produces approximately half of the world's legal poppy crop. There are three companies operating in Tasmania - Glaxo Smith Kline at Latrobe, Tasmanian Alkaloids at Westbury and TPI Enterprises Limited based at Cressy.

The pyrethrum industry covers the growing of pyrethrum daisies to enable pyrethrin oils to be extracted. Tasmania is the largest producer and supplies around 60 per cent of the global pyrethrin market. Botanical Resources Australia (BRA) has crop receival and processing plant at Ulverstone.