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Soil and land resources availability and capability

Key Finding

The majority of the Queensland’s land resource (71% or 1,234,099km2) is mainly suitable for grazing. Only 9% (or 157,696km2) is Class A land, suitable for intensive high-productivity agriculture. These data relate to a general assessment and it should be noted that agricultural production in any given year is affected by seasonal rainfall and water availability.

Queensland

Soils are a critical non-renewable resource that supports ecosystem function, which sustain our society. The State’s soil resource, suitable for the production of food, fibre and fuel, are finite.

Soil, regional climate and rainfall factors contribute to suitability and capability for different land uses.

In 2019, Queensland’s land resources suitable and available to cropping covered 12% (215,617km2) of the state.

  • 9% (157,696km2) of the state is highly suited (Agricultural Land Class A).
  • 3% (57,921km2) of the state is suitable but with limitations (Agricultural Land Class B).

In contrast, the land resource, suitable for grazing (Class C) covered 71% (1,234,099km2) of the state. Land resources assessed as unsuitable for all types of agriculture covered 1% (17,453km2).

About 15% (267,460km2) of Queensland’s land resource is unavailable for agricultural production because it is under conservation or Indigenous cultural land use, is unsuitable, or developed for urban or industrial purposes.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 1% (17,435km2).
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 1% (10,106km2) of the state.
  • Land under conservation status — 8% (135,095km2) of the state.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 4% (68,703km2) of the state.
  • Indigenous cultural land use — 2% (36,120km2) of the state.

Some 1% (13,306km2) of the state has yet to be formally assessed.

In Queensland, agricultural suitability is determined using the Agricultural land classification (ALC) system. This classification assesses the adequacy of land for a specified agricultural use and its ability to sustain production. Areas of alienation, conservation, Indigenous land management and waterways/wetlands are sourced from Queensland Land Use Mapping Program (QLUMP).

Brigalow Belt

The Brigalow Belt (BRB) bioregion represents 21% (365,158km2) of Queensland.

In total, 93% (339,386km2) of the bioregion is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 23% of land in the state suitable for cropping and grazing.

About 30% (107,915km2) of the bioregion is suitable for cropping.

  • This represents 62% (97,693km2) and 18% (10,222km2) of Queensland’s Class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 63% of BRB bioregion.

  • This region has 19% (231,471km2) of the state’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway, or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents about 7% (24,152km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 0.2% (893km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 1% (4,982km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 4% (13,702km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 1% (4,576km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.4% (1,621km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed for agriculture.

Cape York Peninsula

The Cape York Peninsula (CYP) bioregion represents 7% (122,876km2) of Queensland.

About 36% (44,618km2) of the CYP bioregion is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 3% of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

Land suitable for cropping (classes A and B) represents 6% (7,684km2).

  • This represents 1% (1,446km2) and 11% (6,238km2) of Queensland’s Class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 30% (36,934km2) of the bioregion.

  • This region has 3% of the state’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 64% (78,164km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 1.6% (2,003km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 0.2% (276km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 32% (39,082km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 4% (5,004km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 26% (31,798km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.1% (93km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Central Queensland Coast

The Central Queensland Coast (CQC) bioregion represents 0.9% (14,779km2) of Queensland.

In total, 69% (10,198km2) of the CQC bioregion is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 0.7% (10,198km2) of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

Land suitable for cropping (classes A and B) represents 25% (3,632km2) of the bioregion.

  • This represents 1.6% and 2% of Queensland’s Class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing represent 44% of the bioregion.

  • This region has 0.5% of the state’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 22% (3,239km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 1% (119km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 2% (285km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 14% (2,036km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 5% (799km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

Some 9% (1,342km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Channel Country

The Channel Country (CHC) bioregion represents 13% (232,083km2) of Queensland.

Some 78% (180,446km2) of the bioregion is suitable for agriculture, specifically grazing.

  • No land in the CHC has been identified as suitable for cropping (classes A and B land) due to low reliability of rainfall.
  • CHC represents 15% of the state’s total grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 22% (51,447km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 0.1% (40km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for agriculture urban or industrial purposes — <0.1% (77km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 11% (24,653km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 12% (26,695km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.1% (189km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Desert Uplands

The Desert Uplands (DEU) bioregion represents 4% (69,411km2) of Queensland.

About 95% (66,068km2) of the DEU bioregion is suitable for agricultural enterprises.

  • This represents 5% of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

Land suitable for cropping (classes A and B land) represents 12% (8,318km2) of the bioregion.

  • This represents 0.02% and 14% of Queensland’s class A and B land respectively.
  • There is no Class A land recorded in this bioregion.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 83% of the bioregion.

  • DEU bioregion has 5% of the state’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 5% (3,343km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 0.1% (98km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 0.1% (89km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 3% (2,117km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 2% (1,039km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

All of the bioregion has had some level of formal assessment for agriculture.

Einasleigh Uplands

The Einasleigh Uplands (EIU) bioregion represents 7% (116,258km2) of Queensland.

About 90% (104,827km2) of the EIU bioregion is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 7% of land in the state that is suitable for cropping and grazing.

About 19% of the EIU bioregion is suitable for cropping.

  • This represents 4% (5,944km2) and 29% (16,552km2) of the Queensland’s Class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 71% (82,331km2) of the bioregion.

  • This region has 7% of Queensland’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 10% (11,172km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 1% (259km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 0.2% (310km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 6% (6,961km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 2% (2,273km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0.1% (154km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.2% (259km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Gulf Plains

The Gulf Plains (GUP) bioregion represents 13% (218,963km2) of Queensland.

About 85% (185,157km2) of the GUP bioregion is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 13% of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

About 17% (36,402km2) of the bioregion is suitable for cropping.

  • This represents 17% and 15% of the state’s Class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 68% (148,755km2) of the bioregion.

  • GUP bioregion has 12% of the state’s land suitable for grazing.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 15% (32,833km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 1.1% (2,492km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 0.1% (129km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 4.6% (10,028km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 7.6% (16,709km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 1.6% (3,475km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.4% (973km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Mitchell Grass Downs

The Mitchell Grass Downs (MGD) bioregion represents 14% (241,617km2) of Queensland.

About 96% (232,681km2) of the MGD bioregion is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 16% of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

Just 2% (4,560km2) of the MGD bioregion is suitable for cropping.

  • This represents 1% and 4% of the state’s Class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 94% (228,121km2) of the bioregion.

  • This region has 18% of the state’s total suitable grazing resources.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 4% (8,916km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 0.1% (283km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 2% (4,073km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes —2% (4,560km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.01% (20km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Mulga Lands

The Mulga Lands (MUL) bioregion represents 11% (186,059km2) of Queensland.

About 91% (170,059km2) of the MUL bioregion is suitable for agricultural enterprises.

  • This represents 12% of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

Land suitable for cropping (Class A only) represents 5% (9,010km2) of the bioregion.

  • This region has 6% of the state’s Class A agricultural land.

About 87% (161,049km2) of the MUL bioregion is assessed as suitable for grazing.

  • This region has 13% of Queensland’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 9% (15,988km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable land for agriculture (Class D) — 2% (18km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 0.1% (147km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 5% (8,799km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 2% (3,961km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.01% (11km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

New England Tableland

The New England Tablelands (NET) bioregion represents 0.4% (7,734km2) of Queensland.

About 95% (7,325km2) of the NET bioregion is suitable for agriculture

  • This represents just 0.5% of Queensland’s agricultural land.

About 14% (1,081km2) of the bioregion’s land is suitable for cropping.

  • This represents 0.7% and <0.1% of the state’s Class A and B land respectively.
  • Despite low relative state-wide extent, there is significant cool climate horticultural production in this region.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 81% (6,244km2) of the bioregion.

  • NET bioregion has 0.5% of Queensland’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 5% (409km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable land for agriculture (Class D) — 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 1% (84km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 4% (309km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 0.2% (15km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

All of the bioregion has had some level of formal assessment for agriculture.

Northwest Highlands

The Northwest Highlands (NWH) bioregion represents 4% (73,432km2) of Queensland.

About 93% (68,292km2) of the NWH bioregion is suitable for cropping and grazing.

  • This represents 5% of Queensland’s agricultural land.

About 1% of the land is suitable for cropping (classes A and B).

  • This represents 0.6% and 0.4% of the state’s class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 92% (67,508km2) of the bioregion.

  • NWH bioregion has 5% of the state’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 7% (5,140km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes —0.2% (157km2) of the bioregion.
  • Land under conservation status — 5% (3,875km2) of the bioregion.
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 2% (1,108km2) of the bioregion.
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2) of the bioregion.

Some 0.4% (973km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Southeast Queensland

The Southeast Queensland (SEQ) bioregion represents 4% (62,209km2) of Queensland.

About 54% (33,894km2) of the bioregion is suitable for agriculture

  • This represents 2% of Queensland’s agricultural land resource.

About 15% (9,436km2) of the SEQ bioregion is suitable for cropping.

  • This represents 4% and 5% of the state’s class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 39% (24,459km2) of the bioregion.

  • SEQ bioregion has 2% of the state’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural land use represents 32% (19,968km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 10% (6,247km2).
  • Land permanently alienated from agriculture due to urban or industrial development —5% (3,004km2).
  • Land under conservation status — 15% (9,359km2).
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 2% (1,358km2).
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 0% (0km2).

Some 13% (8,346km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

Wet Tropics

The Wet Tropics (WET) bioregion represents 1% (19,903km2) of Queensland.

Just over one-third of this bioregion (34% or 6,764km2) is suitable for agriculture.

  • This represents 0.5% of Queensland’s agricultural land.

Land suitable for cropping (Class A and B land) represents 22% (4,300km2) of the bioregion.

  • The WET bioregion represents 2% and 1% of the state’s class A and B land respectively.

Land assessed as suitable for grazing makes up 12% (2,464km2) of the bioregion.

  • This region has just 0.2% of Queensland’s suitable grazing land.

Land unavailable for agriculture because it is unsuitable, alienated, under conservation, a wetland or waterway or mapped as a primarily indigenous cultural landuse represents 64% (12,688km2) of the bioregion.

  • Land unsuitable for agriculture (Class D) — 5% (987km2).
  • Land developed for urban or industrial purposes — 1% (282km2).
  • Land under conservation status — 51% (10,120km2).
  • Waterways and wetland landscapes — 3% (607km2).
  • Indigenous cultural land use – 3% (693km2).

Some 2% (451km2) of the bioregion has yet to be formally assessed.

More information:

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets

  • GOAL 2: ZERO HUNGER

Proportion of land by use, 2019

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A157,696.24
Class B57,921.08
Class C1,234,099.40
Class D17,435.13
No Data13,305.72
Alienated10,106.37
Conservation135,095.09
WaterWetlands68,703.31
Indigenous36,120.11

Proportion of land by use in Brigalow Belt

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A97,692.95
Class B10,222.01
Class C231,471.24
Class D892.63
No Data1,620.57
Alienated4,981.77
Conservation13,702.18
WaterWetlands4,575.58
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Channel Country

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A0.00
Class B0.00
Class C180,446.76
Class D40.48
No Data188.72
Alienated77.41
Conservation24,635.09
WaterWetlands26,694.52
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Central Queensland Coast

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A2,476.19
Class B1,156.02
Class C6,565.30
Class D119.43
No Data1,342.14
Alienated285.27
Conservation2,035.57
WaterWetlands798.99
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Cape York Peninsula

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A1,446.42
Class B6,237.62
Class C36,934.14
Class D2,003.27
No Data93.03
Alienated276.19
Conservation39,082.17
WaterWetlands5,004.32
Indigenous31,798.38

Proportion of land by use in Desert Uplands

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A34.30
Class B8,283.69
Class C57,750.10
Class D97.90
No Data0.00
Alienated88.64
Conservation2,116.57
WaterWetlands1,039.39
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Einasleigh Uplands

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A5,943.57
Class B16,551.77
Class C82,331.40
Class D1,474.09
No Data259.37
Alienated310.38
Conservation6,960.55
WaterWetlands2,272.91
Indigenous153.81

Proportion of land by use in Gulf Plains

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A27,462.56
Class B8,939.69
Class C148,755.01
Class D2,492.04
No Data973.40
Alienated128.91
Conservation10,027.74
WaterWetlands16,709.04
Indigenous3,475.10

Proportion of land by use in Mitchell Grass Downs

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A2,051.55
Class B2,508.03
Class C228,121.48
Class D0.00
No Data20.12
Alienated283.41
Conservation4,072.97
WaterWetlands4,559.46
Indigenous0.02

Proportion of land by use in Mulga Lands

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A9,010.14
Class B0.00
Class C161,049.10
Class D3,081.22
No Data10.97
Alienated146.67
Conservation8,799.31
WaterWetlands3,961.12
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in New England Tableland

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A1,077.37
Class B3.92
Class C6,244.18
Class D0.01
No Data0.26
Alienated84.26
Conservation309.31
WaterWetlands15.05
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Northwest Highlands

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A464.74
Class B318.51
Class C67,508.52
Class D0.00
No Data0.00
Alienated157.42
Conservation3,874.82
WaterWetlands1,108.25
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Southeast Queensland

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A6,393.58
Class B3,042.34
Class C24,458.59
Class D6,246.79
No Data8,346.49
Alienated3,004.14
Conservation9,359.19
WaterWetlands1,357.81
Indigenous0.00

Proportion of land by use in Wet Tropics

  • Chart
  • Table
UseHectares
Class A3,642.87
Class B657.48
Class C2,463.58
Class D987.27
No Data450.65
Alienated281.90
Conservation10,119.62
WaterWetlands606.87
Indigenous692.80

Download data from Queensland Government data

Metadata

Area of available soil and land resources for agricultural production by Agricultural Land Class as of 2019, using the most current land use mapping (2019) to exclude areas of land unavailable for potential agricultural activity. This layer comprises a merger of 2 layers: Queensland agricultural land classes 2019 (ALC), and  Queensland land use mapping (QLUMP)- 2019. Final map categories are: Class A, B, C, D lands,  No ALC assessment,  Alienated land (permanent and temporary), Conservation, Water and wetlands, Indigenous cultural management.