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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/05/2009   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 Changes to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Agricultural survey program for 2007-08 resulted in the annual Agricultural Survey being combined with a benchmark survey of land management practices by agricultural businesses, and a survey of management responses to adverse seasonal conditions experienced by affected agricultural businesses. The combined survey is the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

2 This publication presents estimates of water use from the 2007-08 ARMS. It contains detailed statistics at the national and state/territory levels, as well as for the Murray-Darling Basin, on agricultural water use and pastures and crops irrigated. Summary data on irrigation water use is also presented by Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions as additional datacubes. These datacubes can be accessed via the Downloads tab of Water Use on Australian Farms, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4618.0).

3 A reduced range of commodity items were collected from the 2007-08 ARMS in comparison to surveys and censuses of previous years. In addition, the range of regional data has been reduced. Care should be taken when comparing estimates over time for Australia, state/territory and regional levels. More information is available upon request.


GENERAL

4 Where figures for individual states/territories have been suppressed for reasons of confidentiality, they have been included in relevant totals.

5 Australian Capital Territory data has been combined with New South Wales data.

6 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

7 The scope of the 2007-08 ARMS was all agricultural businesses recorded on the ABS' Business Register (ABSBR) above a minimum size cutoff. The ABSBR is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is administered and maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

8 A minimum size cut-off of $5,000 was applied to determine whether a business was in-scope for the 2007-08 ARMS. The measure of size was based on the ABS' Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) or a derived value based on Business Activity Statement (BAS) turnover.

9 While the ABSBR does not include all agricultural businesses in Australia, it provides improved coverage from the former ABS-maintained Agricultural Survey frame as 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 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.

10 The key implication of the move to the ABR-based register is that the data from 2005-06 onwards are not directly comparable with the historical time series of agricultural water data presented for 2003-04 and 2004-05. Therefore, care should be taken in comparing 'Old basis' and 'New basis' estimates.

11 For the 2007-08 ARMS, a sample of approximately 33,000 agricultural businesses was selected from an in-scope population of approximately 150,000 agricultural businesses.


AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES AND AREA UNDER PASTURE OR CROP

12 The number of agricultural businesses and the area under pasture or crop are included for irrigation crop categories where these are available. In some cases, the number of agricultural businesses and the area under pasture or crop are not available or may not be directly comparable with the categories used for irrigated crops. More information is available upon request.


COMPARABILITY WITH AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES AUSTRALIA

13 The estimates of agricultural businesses and area under pasture or crop for 2003-04 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, pears and vineyards). The estimates of agricultural establishments and area under pasture or crop for 2004-05 to 2007-08 presented in this publication differ from Agriculture Commodities, Australia, in that the estimates for grapevines in this publication are derived from the Agricultural Survey and ARMS rather than the Vineyards Collection.


MURRAY-DARLING BASIN GEOGRAPHY

14 Data for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) region were derived from a concordance of NRM regions falling mostly within the MDB region. The MDB data used in Water Use on Australian Farms, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4618.0) were derived from geocoded data. Therefore, there will be small differences when comparing these data to 2006-07 and 2007-08 MDB data.


RESPONSE RATE

15 The response rate for the 2007-08 ARMS was 87.4%


RELIABILITY OF DATA

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


SAMPLING ERRORS

17 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the ARMS for the year ended 30 June 2008 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.

18 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.

19 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.

20 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 - 2007-08

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

Total area irrigated (ha)
2.1
4.5
5.0
3.3
5.0
5.4
5.3
12.2
Total volume applied (ML)
2.2
4.5
5.2
4.3
5.3
4.8
6.7
17.7
Pasture (including lucerne),cereal and other crops used for grazing - area irrigated (ha)
4.2
8.5
7.2
13.6
10.8
14.5
8.3
29.7
Pasture (including lucerne), cereal and other crops used for grazing - volume applied (ML)
4.2
10.7
7.5
9.9
9.3
11.5
10.1
27.1
Rice - area irrigated (ha)
9.0
9.0
-
-
-
-
-
-
Rice - volume applied (ML)
9.0
9.0
-
-
-
-
-
-
Cotton - area irrigated (ha)
5.9
8.5
-
6.3
-
-
-
-
Cotton - volume applied (ML)
5.0
7.1
-
5.1
-
-
-
-
Sugar cane - area irrigated (ha)
5.6
61.0
-
5.7
-
1.5
-
-
Sugar cane - volume applied (ML)
8.1
69.5
-
8.4
-
0.4
-
-

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



NON-SAMPLING ERRORS

21 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 errors, 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.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

22 A range of environmental and agricultural publications are produced by the ABS, including:
  • Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0)
  • Farm Management and Climate (cat. no. 4625.0)
  • 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)
  • Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile, 2000-01 to 2005-06 (cat. no. 4610.0.55.007)

23 For more information on other products released by the ABS, please refer to 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 DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

24 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.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

25 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.


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