4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/05/2015   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES

1 This publication contains final estimates on water use on Australian farms collected in the 2013-14 Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey (REACS). Included are statistics on water use, water sources, irrigation expenditure and irrigation methods.

2 Data at sub-state levels including Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Statistical Area 4 (SA4) and Natural Resource Management (NRM) region will be released at a later date as data cubes (Excel (xls) and zipped Excel files) attached to the publication.

3 The REACS is conducted annually in the years between the five-yearly Agricultural Census.

4 Prior to 2012-13, the ABS conducted an Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and an Agricultural Commodity Survey (ACS) in alternating years. In 2012-13, the ARMS and ACS were combined to form the REACS.

5 Estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from the REACS for the financial year ended 30 June 2014 and administrative data from non-ABS sources is used to supplement reported data. A copy of the 2013-14 REACS survey form can be found under the Downloads tab of this publication.

SCOPE AND COVERAGE

6 The scope of the 2013-14 REACS was all businesses undertaking agricultural activity recorded on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) above a minimum cut-off applied to the value of their agricultural production.

7 For the purposes of this survey a business is identified as undertaking agriculture activity as defined by the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). For more information, please refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).

8 The ABSBR is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is administered and maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Most businesses and organisations in Australia are required to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the ATO for their business operations.

9 A minimum cut-off value of $5,000 was used to determine whether an agricultural business operation was in-scope for the 2013-14 REACS. This measure of size was based on the ABS' Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) or a derived value based on turnover reported by an agricultural business operation in its Businesses Activity Statement (BAS).

10 The 2013-14 REACS final estimates are based on a response rate of 83% from a sample of 34,704 agricultural businesses selected for the 2013-14 REACS.

RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES (SAMPLE ERROR)

11 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the REACS for the year ended 30 June 2014. The sample population for the REACS is drawn from the total agricultural business population in scope of the collection, and are subject to sampling variability; that is, they may differ from the figures that would have been produced if all businesses had been included in the survey.

12 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 was taken or received. There are approximately 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 establishments had responded or been reported for, and approximately nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two SEs.

13 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. Most published estimates have RSEs less than 10%. For some states and territories with limited production of certain commodities, RSEs are greater than 10%. Estimates that have an RSE error between 10% and 25% should be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for some purposes. Estimates with an RSE between 25% and 50% should also be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes.

Estimates with an RSE greater than 50% at the national, state and territory level have been suppressed in this publication as they are considered too unreliable for general use. Where estimates for data items have been suppressed at the national, state or territory level, they have also been suppressed at sub-state level. Where figures for individual states or territories have been suppressed, they have been included in relevant totals.

RSEs for all estimates are available on request.

14 A table with RSEs for selected commodities follows:

RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS OF SELECTED ESTIMATES - at 30 June 2014

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

Total area irrigated (ha)
2.2
3.5
5.5
3.6
4.5
11.4
6.6
3.7
2.0
Total volume applied (ML)
1.8
2.7
5.1
3.1
5.8
7.8
9.0
4.7
1.5
Pasture for grazing, area watered (ha)
5.5
9.1
8.3
24.5
9.7
17.2
8.5
29.2
-
Pasture for grazing, volume applied (ML)
6.0
9.7
9.0
23.7
12.6
21.6
11.7
31.3
-
Rice, area watered (ha)
3.8
3.9
24.7
41.6
-
-
-
44.3
-
Rice, volume applied (ML)
3.7
3.8
26.6
20.7
-
-
-
44.3
-
Sugar cane, area watered (ha)
5.0
8.5
-
5.0
-
-
-
-
-
Sugar cane, volume applied (ML)
5.8
3.3
-
5.8
-
-
-
-
-
Cotton, area watered (ha)
3.0
3.5
-
4.8
-
-
-
-
-
Cotton, volume applied (ML)
2.7
3.3
-
4.6
-
-
-
-
-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)


RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES (NON-SAMPLE ERROR)

15 Editing is used in ABS business surveys to correct a number of non-sampling errors such as misunderstanding of questions or instructions, mis-coding, non-availability of data, non-response and non-contact. ABS Agricultural surveys output a large number of data items across multiple regions (Australia, State/Territory and sub-state regions) and industry breakdowns. While every effort is made to ensure these data items are of high quality, limited resources mean that not all potential non-sampling errors can be addressed in a timely manner.

A hierarchical significance based editing approach to these output estimates is utilised to maximise the effectiveness of editing on the quality of the estimates whilst managing the overall editing load. This approach involves ranking each of the estimates based on their significance relative to other estimates, with higher ranked estimates being investigated further. This targeted approach ensures that editing resources are focussed on the most important anomalies.

This hierarchical editing approach does mean that some estimates will have had less editing resource directed to them. A potential consequence of the reduced editing effort is that users may notice inconsistencies when comparing various population totals across different estimate types, especially in the case of smaller estimates and/or finer breakdowns.

ROUNDING AND CONFIDENTIALITY

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

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

ESTIMATION METHOD - CALIBRATION

18 While undertaking the 2013-14 REACS the ABS also conducted the Land Management Practices Survey (LaMPS). The LaMPS collected a range of data on agricultural land use and land management practices being undertaken by agricultural businesses. While both collections were based on the same survey frame (all in scope agricultural businesses recorded on the ABSBR) they used different samples and therefore generated different estimates to each other for overlapping key land use data items.

The estimates of these overlapping key land use data items were not statistically significant from each other however, to maintain coherence of land use estimates produced by both surveys, a calibration process was undertaken to align the REACS estimates to LaMPS estimates.

Calibration adjusts a business' weights in the sample in such a way that the estimates for specified benchmark data items align with the benchmark totals. The calibration algorithm aims to minimise the overall adjustment needed in the business' weights, while ensuring the calibrated weights remain within certain thresholds. In the case of REACS and LaMPS, the numbers of agricultural businesses in each state and territory, and the area of agricultural land in each state, have been used as benchmark data items.

RELATED PUBLICATIONS

19 Final estimates of agricultural commodity area and production in 2013-14 are available at the same time as the final 2013-14 water use on Australian farms estimates. These commodity estimates will be released in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0).

20 Final estimates of the gross value of agricultural commodities from the 2013-14 Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced (VACP) Collection are available at the same time as the final 2013-14 water use on Australian farms estimates. These value estimates will be released in Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia (cat. no. 7503.0).

21 ABS publications related to the REACS can be accessed under the Statistics page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

22 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.

GENERAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

23 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.

PRIVACY

24 The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.