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4627.0 - Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/05/2009  First Issue
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 Changes to the ABS Agricultural survey program for 2007-08 resulted in the annual Agricultural Survey being combined with a user-funded benchmark survey of land management practices by agricultural businesses, and a survey on management responses to adverse seasonal conditions experienced by affected agricultural businesses. The combined survey was the Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). The survey was designed to enable the benchmarking of several key aspects of the Caring for our Country program, an initiative of the Australian Government.

2 This publication presents estimates from the 2007-08 ARMS. It contains detailed statistics at the national and state/territory levels, on the major agricultural activities undertaken, land use, and key land management practices. Additional datacubes at national, state/territory and NRM region levels provide a more detailed picture of land management and farming in Australia. These datacubes can be accessed via the Downloads tab of Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4627.0).

3 A reduced range of commodity items was collected from the 2007-08 ARMS in comparison to surveys and censuses of previous years. As a result, care must 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 national totals. In addition, some categories have been combined, for example, combining Australian Capital Territory data with New South Wales data.

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

6 For some items, multiple responses are possible and thus totals are not necessarily the sum of the component items. For example, a respondent could perform more than one land management practice on their holding.


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 cut-off. The ABSBR is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR) which is administered and maintained by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

8 A minimum 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 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.


RESPONSE RATE

11 The response rate for 2007-08 ARMS was 87.4%


RELIABILITY OF DATA

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


SAMPLING ERRORS

13 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.

14 In this publication, 'sampling' variability of the estimates is measured by the relative standard error (RSE) which is obtained by expressing the RSE as a percentage of the estimates to which it refers.

15 Most published estimates have RSEs less than 5%. 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.

16 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
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Reporting fertiliser use (no. of businesses)
0.8
1.6
1.8
2.1
2.2
1.9
3.2
8.7
Grazing stock in pastures and/or crops (no. of businesses)
0.6
0.9
1.3
1.3
1.9
1.7
2.3
7.9
Monitoring ground cover in paddocks (no. of businesses)
1.0
1.5
2.4
2.0
3.0
2.8
4.8
12.4
Minimum target for ground cover levels (no. of businesses)
1.5
2.4
4.1
3.0
4.8
4.7
8.0
25.7
Native vegetation on holding (no. of businesses)
0.8
1.4
2.4
1.5
2.5
2.0
3.8
6.8
Wetlands on holding (no. of businesses)
2.9
5.7
6.8
6.2
7.4
6.5
12.4
14.5
Rivers or creeks on holding (no. of businesses)
1.0
1.5
2.7
1.8
3.9
2.7
3.4
10.4
Preparing land for crops and/or pastures (no. of businesses)
0.9
1.6
2.2
2.1
2.4
2.2
4.5
14.6
Stubble left intact (no cultivation) - ('000 ha)
1.8
3.6
6.5
3.3
4.5
2.8
10.5
71.9
Total area of stubble or trash ('000 ha)
1.2
2.4
3.7
2.4
3.3
2.2
4.6
55.8
Fallow land - less than 3 months ('000 ha)
5.1
7.8
11.4
7.9
16.4
10.7
6.5
35.9
Fallow land - 3 to 9 months ('000 ha)
1.4
2.6
4.1
3.1
3.2
2.3
6.7
56.7
Fallow land - more than 9 months ('000 ha)
4.2
7.2
23.2
5.0
19.4
8.7
16.5
35.5

(a) Includes ACT.



NON-SAMPLING ERRORS

17 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.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

18 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)
  • Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 7111.0)
  • Water use on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4618.0)

19 For more information 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

20 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 ACKNOWLEDGMENT

21 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.


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