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4619.0.55.001 - Land Management Practices in the Great Barrier Reef Catchments, Final, 2008-09  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/04/2010  First Issue
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April 23, 2010
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra Time)

Size makes a difference for farmers in Great Barrier Reef catchment: ABS

Large farms growing crops in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area were more likely to have practices in place to control water, pesticide and fertiliser run-off than small farms, according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

The survey - part of the Australian government's Reef Rescue Program - found that large crop growing farms were more likely to use land management techniques such as changing farm layout to industry best practice to avoid "off-farm" chemical loss, than small farms.

"Farming practice varies significantly across the catchments," said Eric Morris of the ABS Environment Statistics Section, "by measuring the take up of land management practices in different catchments, this first-ever survey gives environmental researchers a significant baseline of information to analyse".

The survey collected detailed information across 28 separate river catchments discharging into the reef.

Information was collected about surface and irrigation water management, fertiliser and herbicide use, as well as the cropping and grazing practices of farmers. Three-quarters (75%) of the 17,104 farms in the catchments kept beef cattle (12,550) and a quarter grew sugar cane(4,253).

This information will be used to support major government investments to increase the take up of farming practices that ensure the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Further details can be found in Land Management Practices in the Great Barrier Reef Catchments, Final, 2008-09 ( 4619.0.55.001) and in Land Management Practices in the Great Barrier Reef Catchments, Experimental Estimates, 2008-09 ( 4619.0.55.002). Both releases are available for free download from the ABS website <>

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