1 This publication presents estimates from the 2006-07 Agricultural survey. It contains detailed statistics at the national and state/territory levels, as well as for the Murray-Darling Basin, on agricultural water use, pastures and crops irrigated, sources of water, irrigation water management and irrigation finances. Summary data on irrigation water use is also presented by Natural Resource Management regions.
2 Prior to running the 2005-06 Agricultural Census, the ABS had maintained its own register of agricultural establishments. However, it was increasingly difficult to maintain this list, and users were questioning the accuracy of some data.
3 The ABS investigated a number of alternatives for maintaining an agricultural business register and discussed these with key users of agriculture statistics. As a result of this, it was agreed that the ABS should move to a new frame sourced from the Australian Taxation Office's Australian Business Register (ABR) from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census onwards.
4 The ABR-based register consists of all businesses on the ABR classified to an 'agricultural' industry, as well as businesses which have indicated they undertake agricultural activities. All businesses with a turnover of $50,000 or more are required to register on the ABR. Many agricultural businesses with a turnover of less than $50,000 have also chosen to register on the ABR.
5 Moving to the ABR-based register required changes to many of the methodologies used for compiling agriculture commodity and water statistics. These included changes to the methods used for determining whether agricultural businesses were 'in-scope' of the collection, and also to ways the data were compiled. These changes include improved estimation and imputation techniques. Implications of these changes were discussed in detail in a Technical Note in Water Use on Australian Farms 2005-06 (cat. no. 4618.0).
IMPLICATIONS FOR USERS
6 The key implication of the move to the new register is that the data from 2006-07 and the 2005-06 Agricultural Census are not directly comparable with the historical time series of agricultural water data presented for 2002-2005, and therefore care should be taken in comparing 'Old-basis and 'New-basis' estimates.
SCOPE AND COVERAGE
7 The scope of the 2006-07 Agricultural Survey was businesses 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.
8 The 2006-07 Agricultural Survey included a total in-scope population of approximately 151,000 agricultural businesses compared to approximately 130,000 establishments on the old ABS-maintained frame.
OTHER WATER USE
9 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.
10 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 across all pastures and crops.
COMPARABILITY WITH AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES AUSTRALIA
11 The estimates of agricultural businesses and area under pasture or crop for 2002-03 and 2003-04 in this publication have been drawn from Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0). These estimates were compiled from the annual Agricultural Survey and Supplementary Collections (i.e. Apples and Pears Collection and Vineyards Collection). The estimates of agricultural establishments and area under pasture or crop for 2006-07 in this publication differ from Agriculture Commodities, Australia 2006-07, in that the estimates for grapevines in this publication are derived from the Agricultural Census/Survey rather than the Vineyards Collection.
MURRAY-DARLING BASIN GEOGRAPHY
12 The data for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) used in this publication were derived from a concordance of NRM regions falling mostly within the MDB. The MDB data used in the Water Use on Australian Farms 2005-06 publication was derived from geocoded data. Therefore, there will be small differences between the two publications.
13 The response rate for the Agricultural Survey 2006-07 was 88.1%.
RELIABILITY OF DATA
14 The estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors.
15 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the Agricultural Survey for the year ended 30 June 2007 and are subject to sampling variability. That is, estimates may differ from figures that would be produced if all agricultural businesses 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 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.
16 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.
17 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.
18 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 - 2006-07
|Total area irrigated (ha) |
|Total volume applied (ML) |
|Pasture for grazing - area irrigated (ha) |
|Pasture for grazing - volume applied (ML) |
|Rice - area irrigated (ha) |
|Rice - volume applied (ML) |
|Sugar cane - area irrigated (ha) |
|Sugar cane - volume applied (ML) |
|Cotton - area irrigated (ha) |
|Cotton - volume applied (ML) |
|Sources of agricultural water - government or private irrigation schemes (ML) |
|Sources of agricultural water - surface water (ML) |
|Sources of agricultural water - groundwater (ML) |
|- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) |
|(a) Includes ACT. |
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
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.
A range of environmental and agricultural publications is produced by the ABS, including:
- Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0)
- Agricultural Commodities: Small Area Data, Australia (cat. no. 7125.0)
- Natural Resource Management on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4620.0)
- Water Access Entitlements, Allocations and Trading (cat. no. 4610.0.55.003)
- Water Account, Australia (cat. no. 4610.0)
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.
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. The Bureau of Meteorology's contribution of the Climate Conditions Appendix in this publication is especially acknowledged. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence, as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.