Aussie vegie production going gangbusters
Australia is rolling in spuds and swimming in carrots.
In fact, the nation's potato farmers grew enough of them in the past year to fill the MCG. Not just cover the hallowed turf knee-deep or to the top of the boundary fence. Actually fill the 1.574 million cubic metre arena to the brim.
By any measure, that's a hell of a lot of mash.
Aussie carrot growers are no slouches either. They raised enough of the juicy orange blighters to pack 300 Olympic pools.
Australia's vegie growers are indeed going swimmingly, according to AUSVEG national manager Shaun Lindhe.
Not only are they among agriculture's strongest performers, they're part of a technically advanced and rapidly growing sector.
"It's a major contributor to agricultural employment and provides economic benefits to all businesses throughout the agricultural supply chain, Mr Lindhe said.
"It's the lifeblood of many regional and rural communities."
As the peak body for vegetable and potato producers, AUSVEG reckons the rest of Australia needs to appreciate what they do too.
#knowyourAUSVEG aims to spread the word about the sector's substantial contribution to the national economy, the livelihoods of its workers and the health and wellbeing of every Australian, Mr Lindhe says.
With an annual farmgate value of almost $5 billion, it's hard to argue.
Vegetables are Australia's largest horticulture market, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
They're a bigger concern than fruits, nuts, flowers, turf and nursery products. They outdo most domestic meat markets and all fisheries, forestry operations and grain crops.
The dollar value of the nine billion litres of milk produced by the nation's dairy herd is roughly on par.
"The vast majority of vegetables that are sold in Australia are grown in Australia," Mr Lindhe said.
"This tremendous effort is possible because of the hard work and determination of our growers and the support from the broader supply chain to ... supply vegetables for Australian and international consumers."
Australian farms have grown more than 3.8 million tonnes of vegetables in the past year, enough to put 87kg of them on the table for every woman, man and child.
The nation's top vegie by value and volume is, of course, the humble spud. More than 1.45 million tonnes of them were dug from the ground and sold for $800 million.
Tomatoes are second, with the annual 470,000-tonne harvest worth $560 million.
Australia's leafy salad vegetable production is valued at $410 million, mushrooms $360 million and broccoli $280 million.
By volume, carrots rank third (335,000 tonnes), onions fourth (270,000 tonnes) and lettuce fifth (139,000 tonnes).
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