Farm Table says:
This webpage produced by the Australian Government looks at the history of agriculture in Australia with a focus on grazing and cropping.
There have been many changes in farming methods over the last 200 years and Australian farmers have had to be adaptable as well as resilient and inventive.
The challenges of access to fresh water, the legacy of high amounts of fertilisers, massive clearing, over grazing, a tyranny of distance, transport costs and feral animals, have tested Australian farmers to their limits. In response, farming has become more mechanised and reliant on technologies, as well as holistic as it seeks to become more sustainable.
Most of Australia’s land, about two-thirds, is given over to farming production. About 90 per cent of farm land is for grazing on native pastures, occurring mostly in the arid and semi-arid zones. Cattle and sheep grazing is known as pastoralism and has a long history associated with rural and outback Australia, connecting most Australians.
Farmers have also implemented holistic systems such as integrated pest management and rotational grazing. New technologies such as the use of satellite positioning systems assist in land management to minimise soil compaction, help map salinity and other soil properties.
The key sections include:
- The development of agricultural farming in Australia
- The wheat belt
- Distribution of farm types – the rainfall lines
- Science, inventions and seed breeding for cropping
- Smaller crops
- Water, droughts and empires
- Transport – bullocks, camels, clipper ships and paddle-steamers
- Export viability – refrigeration, infrastructure, bounties and tariffs
- Wool production – the ‘golden fleece’
- Challenges – deforestation, erosion, rabbits, salinity and algae
- Natural resource management: conservation measures
- The challenge of future food production and sustaining communities