2. EXPANDED LIST OF COMMODITIES TO BE COLLECTED PERIODICALLY, INCLUDING IN EVERY CENSUS YEAR
Historically the ABS Agricultural program has collected a detailed list of commodity information including statistics relating to the production of a commodity and the corresponding area sown or number of trees. The ABS has also collected some information relating to livestock numbers including sex and, in some cases, age.
The review, as outlined in the first issue in this series ABS Agriculture Statistics Strategy - 2008-09 and beyond (cat. no. 7105.0) identified that users of agricultural statistics continue to require a level of detail for other commodities produced in Australia, not just those of highest value. This information is used to: support their understanding of growth or change in production of particular industries; to benchmark forecasts of production; to ensure Australia is able to meet trade contracts; and to understand the value of agriculture to a region.
As a result, the proposed ABS Agricultural program will collect an expanded list of commodity information periodically i.e. every second or third year (and in every census year).
This will ensure that detailed commodity production and value information is available in the census year for release as part of the small area data set, for example at the Local Government Area. It will also ensure that in between the five yearly census, the production of the broad list of commodities is monitored and available for release at the national, state and Natural Resource Management region levels.
The ABS acknowledges the loss of some detailed annual commodity production information will be a significant change to the historical collection strategy. However, the historical annual collection of commodity production information needed to be reviewed so that the ABS could meet the increasing demand for data such as water and other resource use, management practices, characteristics of agricultural business operators and business finance information.