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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2003-04  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/10/2005   
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INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents estimates of water use and management from the 2003-04 Agricultural Survey and Vineyards Survey. It contains detailed statistics on crops and pasture irrigated, irrigation methods and sources of water.


2 This publication also includes estimates for 2002-03 derived from the Water Survey - Agriculture 2002-03. Due to the differences in collection methodologies, care should be taken in comparing the results between 2002-03 and 2003-04.



SCOPE AND COVERAGE

3 The scope of the 2003-04 Agricultural Survey is establishments undertaking agricultural activity with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more.


4 The sample for the 2003-04 Agricultural Survey included the same 28,000 units selected for the 2002-03 Agricultural Survey.


5 A further 3,000 units were selected to cover sample loss due to units in the original selections having ceased farming, and to improve relative standard errors where commodities were approaching or exceeding design parameters in the 2002-03 Agricultural Survey. A proportion of the 3,000 units was also used to sample units that commenced farming since 2001-02. This strategy was used to help ensure good estimates of movements as parts of Australia move out of the drought.



AGRICULTURAL ESTABLISHMENTS

6 An agricultural establishment is the smallest accounting unit within a state or territory controlling its productive activities and maintaining a specified range of detailed data enabling value-added to be calculated. In general, an establishment covers all operations at a physical location, but may consist of a group of locations provided they are within the same Statistical Local Area (SLA) or contiguous SLAs. The majority of agricultural establishments operate at one location only.



COMPARABILITY WITH WATER ACCOUNT AUSTRALIA

7 Estimates of water usage presented in this publication differ from those presented in Water Account, Australia (cat.no. 4610.0). The water use estimates represent water used specifically for the irrigation of pastures and crops during the reference periods, as reported by agricultural establishments. Estimates of water usage presented in the Water Accounts represent water used for all agricultural purposes including for pastures and crops. Water use in the Water Accounts was determined by applying regional water application rates, obtained from water supplier surveys and state and territory or industry contacts, to the area of irrigated crops and livestock numbers.



COMPARABILITY WITH AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES AUSTRALIA

8 The estimates of agricultural establishments and area under pasture or crop in this publication have been drawn from Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0). Due to differences in editing of survey data, some estimates of irrigating agricultural establishments and area of crop irrigated presented in this publication are higher than the estimates of agricultural establishments and area under that crop. Measures will be implemented to eliminate these discrepancies in future issues of this publication. For further information please contact the Director, Environment and Energy Business Statistics Centre, on Hobart 03 6222 5804.



RELIABILITY OF DATA

9 The estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors.



SAMPLING ERRORS

10 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from a sample drawn from the total farm population in scope of the collection, and are subject to sampling variability; that is, they may differ from figures that would have been produced if all farms had been included in the survey. One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample of units was included. There are about two chances in three that a 'sample' estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if a census had been conducted, and approximately nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two SEs.


11 In this publication, 'sampling' variability of the estimates is measured by the relative standard error (RSE) which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimates to which it refers.


12 Where the RSE of an estimate included in this publication falls in the range of 10% to less than 25%, it has been annotated with the symbol '^' indicating that the estimate should be used with caution as it is subject to sampling variability too high for some purposes. Where the RSE of an estimate is 25% to 50%, it has been annotated with the symbol '*', indicating that the estimate should be used with caution as it is subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes. Where the RSE of an estimate exceeds 50%, it has been annotated with the symbol '**', indicating that the sampling variability causes the estimate to be considered too unreliable for general use. Separate indication of the RSEs of all estimates is available on request.


13 The following table contains estimates of RSEs for a selection of the statistics presented in this publication.

RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS OF SELECTED ESTIMATES, By State - 2003-04

NSW(a)
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
Aust.
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Total area irrigated (ha)
3.5
3.8
4.1
4.6
8.7
3.2
-
1.9
Total volume applied (ML)
3.6
3.7
5.7
7.2
5.0
4.0
-
2.2
Cereal crops for grain or seed - area irrigated (ha)
5.2
18.4
11.0
21.9
65.3
8.2
-
4.5
Cereal crops for grain or seed - volume applied (ML)
5.2
22.9
15.8
15.9
62.2
9.2
-
5.0
Vegetables for human consumption - area irrigated (ha)
15.3
2.6
4.0
6.9
4.3
3.1
-
3.2
Vegetables for human consumption - volume applied (ML)
12.5
3.4
4.2
7.5
4.7
4.0
-
3.3
Nurseries cutflowers or cultivated turf - area irrigated (ha)
18.1
9.5
6.9
57.0
12.5
8.4
-
10.2
Nurseries cutflowers or cultivated turf - volume applied (ML)
20.8
7.4
6.6
72.1
4.3
9.8
-
17.6
Irrigation methods - sprinkler - microspray - area irrigated (ha)
11.2
7.7
4.7
7.0
9.7
16.3
-
3.3

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Includes ACT.



NON-SAMPLING ERRORS

14 Errors other than those due to sampling may occur because of deficiencies in the list of units from which the sample was selected, non-response, and errors in reporting by providers. Inaccuracies of this kind are referred to as non-sampling error, which may occur in any collection, whether it be a census or a sample. Every effort has been made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design and testing of questionnaires, operating procedures and systems used to compile the statistics.



ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

15 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to either the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Ron Just on (03) 6222 5842.



RELATED PUBLICATIONS

16 A range of environmental and agricultural publications is produced by the ABS, including:

  • Water Account, Australia (cat. no. 4610.0)
  • Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0)
  • Environment Expenditure Local Government (cat. no. 4611.0)

17 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.



ACKNOWLEDGMENT

18 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence, as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


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