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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2005-06 (Preliminary)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/08/2007   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents preliminary estimates from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census. It contains detailed statistics at the national and state/territory level on agricultural water use, pastures and crops irrigated, and sources of water used for agriculture.


2 The ABR-based register has been used for the first time to conduct the 2005-06 Agricultural Census. The key implication of this strategy is that census data will not be directly comparable with historical time series. This is because, in addition to the change in register, there have been changes in methodologies used for determining whether agricultural businesses are 'in-scope' of the collection, and in some of the ways the data are compiled. These changes include improved estimation and imputation techniques. Implications of these changes are discussed in the Technical Note at the end of this publication. For these reasons, care should be taken in comparing the results from 2005-06 with those of earlier years.


3 Historical time series estimates presented here for 2002-03 were derived from the Water Survey - Agriculture 2002-03, while estimates for 2003-04 and 2004-05 were derived from the Agricultural Surveys. Due to differences in collection methodologies between these surveys, care should also be taken in comparing the 2002-03 results with those of later years.



NEW FRAME

4 The ABR-based register (Inteframe) used by the Agricultural Census contains approximately 155,000 business units flagged as having both agricultural activity and an estimated value of agricultural operations of $5,000 plus or a Standardised BAS Total Sales (SBTS) of $5,000 plus. SBTS is an 'EVAO equivalent' and is calculated by applying ANZSIC based standardisation factors to BAS Total sales for ATOMP units.


5 ABNs identified through ABS frame maintenance activities as not operating an agricultural property are excluded from scope. The number identified on the ABR-based register (approximately 155,000) excludes known duplicate/multiple ABNs from related entity units (a related entity unit is a group of ABNs which could all report the same activity on the same parcels of land leading to duplication of reporting) and also ABNs identified through ABS frame maintenance activities as not operating an agricultural property.



SCOPE AND COVERAGE

6 The scope of the 2005-06 Agricultural Census was establishments undertaking agricultural activity with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more, or a Standardised BAS Total Sales (SBTS) of $5,000 plus. While the new ABR-based register used for the Agricultural Census does not contain all agricultural businesses in Australia, it provides better coverage than the old ABS-maintained Agricultural Survey frame since most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the ATO for their business operations. The ABR-based register used for the Agricultural Census is also more up-to-date as it excludes agricultural businesses with cancelled ABNs and incorporates regularly updated information on agricultural businesses from the ATO.


7 The 2005-06 Agricultural Census included a total in-scope population of approximately 155,000 agricultural businesses compared to approximately 130,000 establishments on the old ABS-maintained frame.



OTHER WATER USE

8 Due to a low response to the question on water use for agricultural purposes other than irrigation, a high level of imputation was required to produce estimates for this item. Industry information and feedback from respondents on stock drinking rates was used, where possible, to impute. Estimates of water used for agricultural purposes other than irrigation should be used with caution.



APPLICATION RATE

9 The Australian and state/territory totals for application rate of water applied for irrigation are calculated by dividing total area irrigated by total volume applied averaged across all pastures and crops.



COMPARABILITY WITH WATER ACCOUNT AUSTRALIA

10 The ABS published data on water use by the agriculture sector in both Water Use on Australian Farms, 2004-05 in July 2006, and Water Account, Australia 2004-2005 in November 2006. While both contained estimates of Agricultural water use, small differences exist between the two due to different data sources and compilation methodologies. The Water Account used data from a number of sources to calculate the volume of water used by the agriculture industry. These included data on water use, irrigated area and livestock numbers from the ABS 2004-05 Agricultural Survey, information collected from irrigation authorities, and additional information available from State and Territory agricultural departments and research institutions. Water Use on Australian Farms, 2004-05 presented more spatial and crop detail on water use in the context of irrigation management and practices reported by the agricultural industry that was obtained entirely from the 2004-05 Agricultural Survey.



RESPONSE RATE

11 The response rate for the Agricultural Census 2005-06 was 93.0%.



RELIABILITY OF DATA

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



SAMPLING ERRORS

13 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the Agricultural Census for the year ended 30 June 2006. Since not all selected units responded, the estimates may differ from those that would have been produced if all farms had responded. One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the extent to which an estimate might vary by chance when not all units have responded, i.e. when a 'sample' of responses only is obtained. 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 all units had responded, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two SEs.


14 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.


15 Most published estimates have RSEs less than 5%. For some states/territories with limited irrigation of certain commodities or limited numbers of units reporting a particular source of agricultural water, RSEs are greater than 10%. 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.


16 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 - 2005-06

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

Total area irrigated (ha)
0.4
0.8
0.5
0.8
2.2
1.8
1.1
3.6
Total volume applied (ML)
0.5
0.9
0.5
1.1
1.3
3.2
1.3
5.6
Pasture for grazing - area irrigated (ha)
0.5
1.0
0.5
2.0
1.4
3.1
1.5
25.9
Pasture for grazing - volume applied (ML)
0.4
1.1
0.5
2.1
1.7
3.4
1.8
24.1
Rice - area irrigated (ha)
1.4
1.4
4.5
na
na
na
na
na
Rice - volume applied (ML)
1.4
1.4
4.5
na
na
na
na
na
Sugar cane - area irrigated (ha)
1.2
11.1
na
1.2
na
8.1
na
na
Sugar cane - volume applied (ML)
1.7
10.7
na
1.6
na
10.9
na
na
Cotton - area irrigated (ha)
1.5
2.1
na
2.1
na
na
na
na
Cotton - volume applied (ML)
1.7
2.3
na
2.4
na
na
na
na
Sources of agricultural water - surface water (ML)
0.5
0.9
0.5
1.1
1.6
3.0
1.3
3.0
Sources of agricultural water - groundwater (ML)
0.8
1.6
1.5
1.5
1.7
2.7
3.4
5.2

na not available
(a) Includes ACT.



NON-SAMPLING ERRORS

17 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

18 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 the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.



RELATED PUBLICATIONS

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


20 Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0)
Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0)
Natural Resource Management on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4620.0)
Selected Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 7112.0)
Water Access Entitlements, Allocations and Trading (cat. no. 4610.0.55.003)
Water Account, Australia (cat. no. 4610.0)


21 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. All ABS publications are available free of charge from the ABS website.



ACKNOWLEDGMENT

22 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. The Bureau of Meteorology's contribution of the Climate Conditions Appendix in this publication is especially acknowledged.


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