Farming in Australia

Types of Farms

There are many kinds of farms in Australia. There are small hobby farms that are mixed - they grow crops and raise animals - but most farms produce only one or two crops or one or two types of animals. Farms that raise animals are called livestock farms.

Livestock farms

Livestock farms can be free-range or intensive.
On a
free range farm
the animals spend most of their lives outdoors in a paddock. Sometimes the farmer brings them inside at night, e.g. foxes would eat chickens if they were outside so the farmer puts them in a chicken shed
On intensive farms the animals spend most of their lives inside in stalls. This makes it easier for the farmer to feed them and they are cheaper to run than free-range farms.

On livestock farms, the farmer has to buy the animals when they are young, or breed them on the farm. Animals have to be fed every day, and looked after so that they don't get sick. When cattle, sheep or pigs are big enough to sell, the farmer takes them to an auction to get the best price.

Cattle and sheep are easy to feed when there is plenty of grass, but the farmer has to grow hay to feed them when there is no grass. This happens a lot in Australia when there is drought. Farmers also have to move the animals around from paddock to paddock when they have eaten up all the grass.

Beef cattle farms

These farms raise cattle for their meat. There are many huge cattle farms in Australia, called cattle stations. Beef (e.g. steaks and hamburgers) comes from cattle.

Dairy farms

On dairy farms there are cows for milking. The cows have to be milked by the farmer morning and evening, every single day of the year. These days farmers use milking machines to milk the cows.
Milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt come from dairy cattle.

Merino sheep
Sheep farms

Farmers keep sheep for their meat and wool. Australia is famous for its merino wool, and there are many huge sheep farms especially in Victoria and New South Wales.

Lamb comes from sheep.


Pig farms

There are some small pig farms where the pigs live out in a paddock, but most of them are kept inside, in stalls.
Pork, ham, bacon and pork sausages come from pigs.
To find out more about pigs, go to

Poultry farms

Poultry farms keep birds: chickens, ducks, geese and turkey, for their meat, eggs and feathers.

Some chicken and turkey farms are free-range, but most are intensive. Chickens that are kept in cages all their lives in a cage are called battery hens.

Ducks and geese like to be outside and swim, so they mostly live on free-range farms. People eat their meat and eggs, and their feathers are used in pillows and doonas.

On our farm at Mossgiel Park PS our chickens are free-range. They can run around outside all day and scratch in the ground. They have a comfortable shed to sleep in at night, and a fence around their home to keep them safe from foxes.

To find out more about poulty, go to

Fish Farms

Trawler, with freezer on board
Many people go fishing in the ocean or rivers to catch their own fish to eat, but people who can't do this, buy their fish from shops and supermarkets.

So commercial fishermen go out in huge trawlers or fishing boats to catch fish from the ocean and bring it back to sell at the wholesale fish market. Then buyers come to the market to buy the fish and sell it to customers at shops and supermarkets.
Eildon fish farm, Victoria
Nowadays some fish is also farmed. This is called Aquaculture. The fish live in huge man-made ponds where they grow until they are big enough to sell.

To find out more about fish farms, go to

Produce farms

Produce farms grow grains, fruit, vegetable and other produce like honey and flowers.
On produce farms, farmers have to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, fertilise the plants to make them grow, keep them free from bugs and insects, and harvest the crop when it is ready. Farm
Combine harvester
ers use tractors to dig up the soil for planting, and they use harvesting machines when the crop is ready to be picked.

Crop farms

Harvesting corn
Crops farms grow grains, like wheat, canola, oats, corn and barley. These crops are grown in huge paddocks and farmers have massive machines to help them plant and harvest them.

Market Gardens

Market gardens are farms that grow vegetables. Crops can include lettuces, silver beet, beetroot, potatoes, pumpkins, beans, peas, onions and tomatoes, as well as many others.

Most vegetables are planted in early Spring and are harvested in Summer.


Apple trees in Spring

oranges.jpgOrchards grow fruit like apples, oranges and pears.
To find out more about apples and pears, click here.
To find out about different kinds of oranges, click here.
To find out where oranges are grown in Australia, click here and then click 'growing areas.'

To find out why fresh fruit is so good for you, click here.

Buying farm produce

Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers market
Most farm products are sold at wholesale markets to shops and supermarkets but sometimes you can buy this produce at farmers markets.


Wikipedia Commons
A Year on the Farm, Brimax, (out of print)

A special thank you to Netherhill Farm in South Australian for permission to use photos from their farm.