Find out top sheep and cattle regions in your state

Key points:

  • There are 10 shires with over 1 million sheep in Australia.
  • The top 10 largest cattle producing regions are all in the NT or Queensland.
  • In the Blackall region, over 2,236,048ha of land is considered improved pasture.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the 2021 records of livestock numbers on a local government basis.

MLA’s Market Information team analysed these numbers and determined the top 10 largest sheep and lamb producing regions in Australia, as well as the 10 largest cattle producing shires in the country.

Find out what regions counted in the top ten as well as other insights from this latest data release.

Top sheep and lamb producing regions

The recent ABS data published shows that there were 10 local government areas (LGAs) with sheep and lamb populations above 1 million. The top LGAs in Australia for sheep and lamb populations are:

  • Southern Grampians (VIC): 2,364,183
  • Kojonup (WA): 1,729,557
  • Wagin (WA): 1,638,539
  • Young (NSW): 1,434,644
  • Wagga Wagga (NSW): 1,257,175
  • Kulin (WA): 1,226,283
  • Far West (NSW): 1,069,927
  • Goulburn (NSW): 1,069,927
  • Deniliquin (NSW): 1,020,766
  • Naracoorte (SA): 1,000,012.

Interestingly, three of the top 10 sheep producing regions were in WA. Meanwhile, only one of these top 10 regions were in Victoria, despite its larger total sheep population.

Further data on Merino breeding ewes over one year demonstrates well established production trends across the country, with WA and NSW heavily skewed towards Merinos and wool production. The top 10 LGAs in term of Merino breeding ewes are:

  • Wagin (WA), with 797,936 head
  • Kojonup (WA), with 791,664 head
  • Southern Grampians (VIC), with 620,874 head
  • Young (NSW), with 586,120 head
  • Kulin (WA), with 584,352 head
  • Deniliquin (NSW), with 496,612 head
  • Far West (NSW), with 496,606 head
  • Yass (NSW), with 440,730 head
  • Brookton (WA), with 385,642 head
  • Wagga Wagga (NSW), with 377,651 head.

Meanwhile, by looking at the ABS data on lambs marked under one year, the key areas for prime lamb production become clear.

West Wimmera in Victoria as well as Naracoorte and Tatiara in SA are in the top ten LGAs for lamb producers at the expense of Yass, Brookton and the Far West.

Top cattle producing regions

The top ten LGAs for cattle production in Australia are listed below. All 10 LGAs are either in Queensland or the NT. Of the top 10, nine LGAs have cattle populations in excess of 500,000 head.

  • Northern Highlands (Queensland): 709,463
  • Central Highlands – West (Queensland): 635,416
  • Banana (Queensland): 569,183
  • Barcaldine–Blackall (Queensland): 551,261
  • Roma (Queensland): 544,651
  • Barkly (NT): 537,162
  • Dalrymple (Queensland): 534,421
  • Carpentaria (Queensland): 533,051
  • Victoria River (NT) 529,080
  • Far Central West (Queensland): 447,174

Derby, Moyne-East, Halls Creek, Corangamite South and Glenelg (in that order) led the other regions in terms of cattle population.

Total land use

There are seven LGAs where over 1 million hectares have been classified as improved pastures used for grazing. These seven LGAs are all located in Queensland.

The LGAs with the largest areas of improved pastures used for grazing are:

  • Barcaldine–Blackall, 2,236,048ha
  • Roma, 1,941,320ha
  • Central Highlands – West, 1,745,802ha
  • Banana, 1,246,893ha
  • Charleville, 1,175,161ha
  • Northern Highlands, 1,112,805ha
  • Clermont, 1,075,310ha

/Public Release. View in full here.