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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2011-12 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/05/2013   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This publication contains estimates on water use on Australian farms collected in the 2011-12 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

2 Data at sub-state geographies such as Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Statistical Area 4 (SA4) geographical levels will be released as separate CSV files attached to this publication later in 2013.


GENERAL

3 The ARMS and the Agricultural Survey are conducted in alternate years, with an Agricultural Census conducted every five years. The ARMS is a combination of a reduced Agricultural Survey and a benchmark survey of land management practices undertaken by agricultural businesses.

4 Production and livestock numbers collected as part of the 2011-12 ARMS will be released in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0). Data related to the gross and local values of production of agricultural commodities for all states will be released in Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia (cat. no. 7503.0). Information on a variety of management practices of Australian agricultural businesses, including land use, fertiliser use, farm management and natural environment protection collected from the ARMS will be released in Land Management and Farming in Australia (cat. no. 4627.0).

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


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

6 The scope of the 2011-12 ARMS included all agricultural businesses recorded on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) above a minimum size cut-off. The ABSBR is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is administered and maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

7 A minimum size cut-off of $5,000 was applied to determine whether a business was in-scope for the 2011-12 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 if EVAO was not available.

8 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 ABR 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 ABR and ATO.

9 For the 2011-12 ARMS, a response rate of 86% was achieved from a sample of approximately 35,900 agricultural businesses. This sample was selected from an in-scope population of approximately 152,000 agricultural businesses.


AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES AND AREA UNDER PASTURE OR CROP

10 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.

11 Where specific crops are listed, such as rice, cotton or vegetables for human consumption, the area under pasture or crop is directly comparable with the area irrigated. However for total area irrigated there is no directly comparable area of pasture or crop, and total area of holding is provided instead. Total area of holding may include portions of land that would not be irrigated, such as land used for feedlots, poultry sheds, etc., as well as woodland, forested areas, wetlands and other similar types of land use, and therefore should not be compared with total area irrigated.

12 The number of businesses in this publication refers to the total number of businesses that operated during the 2011-12 year. More information is available upon request.

MURRAY-DARLING BASIN GEOGRAPHY

13 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, 2010-11 (cat. no. 4618.0) were derived from geocoded data. Therefore, there will be small differences when comparing the MDB data in 2010-11 data to 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2011-12 MDB data.


RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES (SAMPLE ERROR)

14 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the ARMS for the year ended 30 June 2012 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.

15 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 estimate to which it refers.

16 Most published national 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 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 most practical 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 estimtate exceeds 50%, it has been annotated with the symbol '**' indicating that the sampling variability causes the estimates to be considered too unreliable for general use. Separate indication of the RSEs of all estimates is available on request.


17

RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS OF SELECTED ESTIMATES, by State and Territories - 2011-12

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Total area irrigated (ha)
3.6
6.5
3.4
4.0
6.5
4.5
1.4
-
2.4
Total volume applied (ML)
3.7
5.3
3.8
5.2
4.2
4.4
2.1
-
2.2
Pasture for grazing, area irrigated (ha)
10.0
9.5
12.5
9.5
18.8
8.2
17.7
-
5.9
Pasture for grazing, volume applied (ML)
7.9
9.1
12.8
12.4
10.1
7.7
13.3
-
5.8
Rice, area irrigated (ha)
10.0
53.2
27.7
-
2.0
-
-
-
9.9
Rice, volume applied (ML)
7.7
52.7
33.9
-
3.2
-
-
-
7.6
Sugar cane, area irrigated (ha)
-
-
5.6
-
54.0
-
-
-
5.6
Sugar cane, volume applied (ML)
-
-
8.6
-
54.0
-
-
-
8.6
Cotton, area irrigated (ha)
4.0
-
6.6
-
19.2
-
-
-
3.4
Cotton, volume applied (ML)
3.9
-
4.6
-
28.8
-
-
-
2.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)


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.

19 The summary of the Australian Climate Conditions in 2011-12 is compiled for the ABS by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

20 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed under the Statistics and Themes pages on the ABS website <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.


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