4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2014-15 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/04/2016   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES

1 This publication contains final estimates on water use on Australian farms collected in the 2014-15 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), Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) and Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions will be released as data cubes (Excel (xls)) and zipped Excel files attached to the publication.

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

4 Prior to 2012-13, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (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 2015 and administrative data from non-ABS sources is used to supplement reported data. A copy of the 2014-15 REACS survey form can be found under the Downloads tab of this publication.

SCOPE AND COVERAGE

6 The scope of the 2014-15 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 if any of the primary or secondary productive activities of that unit fall within the Agricultural Subdivision (Subdivision 01) 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). Most businesses and organisations in Australia are required to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for their business operations. The ABR stores details about businesses and organisations when they register for an ABN.

9 A minimum cut-off value of $5,000 was used to determine whether an agricultural business operation was in-scope for the 2014-15 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 2014-15 REACS final estimates are based on a response rate of 80% from a sample of 34,627 agricultural businesses selected.

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 2015 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.

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.

14 RSEs for all estimates are available on request.

15 A table with RSEs for selected commodities follows:

RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS OF SELECTED ESTIMATES - at 30 June 2015

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


Total - Area irrigated (ha)
2.5
5.0
5.8
2.9
5.0
6.7
3.1
6.9
0.0
Total - Volume applied (ML)
2.0
3.4
5.0
3.0
5.3
5.1
3.3
14.2
0.0
Pastures/cereal crops for grazing/fed off - Area irrigated (ha)
5.0
8.4
8.5
10.9
12.2
18.5
4.5
20.5
0.0
Pastures/cereal crops for grazing/fed off - Vol. (ML)
5.1
10.0
7.9
15.2
11.7
15.7
4.7
31.1
0.0
Rice - Area irrigated (ha)
6.5
6.6
51.1
71.5
-
81.6
-
44.1
-
Rice - Volume applied (ML)
6.1
6.2
51.1
71.5
-
81.6
-
44.1
-
Sugar cane - Area irrigated (ha)
4.7
16.3
-
4.7
-
-
-
-
-
Sugar cane - Volume applied (ML)
5.3
0.2
-
5.3
-
-
-
-
-
Cotton - Area irrigated (ha)
3.0
3.1
-
6.1
-
-
-
-
-
Cotton - Volume applied (ML)
2.8
3.2
-
5.3
-
-
-
-
-

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)

RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES (NON-SAMPLE ERROR)

16 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. A potential consequence of this is that users may notice some inconsistencies when comparing smaller estimates and/or using finer breakdowns.

ROUNDING AND CONFIDENTIALITY

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

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

RELATED PUBLICATIONS

19 Final estimates of agricultural commodity area and production were released in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0) in March 2016. Land management and farming practices estimates will be released in Land Management and Farming in Australia (cat. no. 4627.0) in May 2016.

20 Final estimates of the gross value of agricultural commodities from the 2014-15 Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced (VACP) collection were released in Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia (cat. no. 7503.0) in March 2016.

21 Final estimates for the gross value of agricultural commodities that are produced with the assistance of irrigation will be released in late 2016 in Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (cat. no. 4610.0.55.008).

22 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

23 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

24 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

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