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4627.0 - Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/06/2014   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents estimates from the 2012-13 Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey (REACS). It contains detailed statistics on a variety of management practices undertaken by Australian agricultural businesses, including cropping and pasture management, fertiliser use, protection of the natural environment for conservation purposes, and farm management.

2 Data are presented at the national and state/territory levels, with additional data cubes containing Natural Resource Management (NRM) region levels to be released at a later date as separate comma separated value (.csv) data cubes that can be opened in a variety of packages, including Excel. These additional data cubes will provide a more detailed picture of land management and farming in Australia and will be able to be accessed via the Downloads tab of Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2012-13 (cat. no. 4627.0).


GENERAL

3 Prior to the 2012-13 reference period, the ABS conducted an Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and an Agricultural Commodity Survey (ACS) in alternate years, with an Agricultural Census conducted every five years. From the 2012-13 reference period onwards, this alternating program has been replaced by a combined collection, the REACS. The REACS provides data users with a more stable set of both commodity and land management practices year on year. At the time of REACS 2012-13 publication, the ABS still intends to run an Agricultural Census every five years.

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

5 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

6 The scope of the 2012-13 REACS 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 2012-13 REACS. The measure of size was based on the ABS' Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO). EVAO is an ABS-generated sizing variable based on a three-year rolling average of the estimated value of the agricultural operations of the business, which takes into account:

    • both the area of crop sown and the production resulting from the crop for all crops on the property regardless of the sale of the produce;
    • the price for the crops as determined through the ABS Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced (VACP) collection;
    • the number of head of livestock held on holding; and
    • the price of the livestock as determined through the VACP collection.
The calculation of EVAO is designed to even-out fluctuations in business value caused by variable climatic and economic conditions, and to enable the size of businesses to be compared across industry (ANZSIC) classes. As a scoping variable, it is used to assist in excluding small farming businesses (hobby farms) recorded on the ABS Business Register from scope, and to assist in the frame and sample design for ABS agricultural business surveys. EVAO does not reflect turnover, income or profit of the agricultural operation. If EVAO is not available, a derived value based on Business Activity Statement (BAS) turnover is used.

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 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 ABR and ATO.

9 For the 2012-13 REACS, a response rate of 83% was achieved from a sample of approximately 33,700 agricultural businesses. This sample was selected from an in-scope population of approximately 153,700 agricultural businesses.


RELIABILITY OF DATA

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


SAMPLING ERROR

11 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the REACS for the year ended 30 June 2013 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.

12 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.

13 Most published national estimates have RSEs less than 5%. For some states where certain farm management practices are less prevalent, RSEs can be greater than 10%. Estimates that have an estimated RSE between 10% and 25% have the RSE range annotated. These estimates 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% have the RSE range annotated. These estimates should be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes. Estimates with an RSE greater than 50% have that RSE range annotated. This level of 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.

14 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 - 2012-13

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

Reporting fertiliser use (no. of businesses)
1.6
2.0
2.2
2.1
1.8
2.8
1.9
0.9
Land used for crops (no. of businesses)
2.7
2.9
2.9
3.0
1.9
5.2
2.7
1.1
Land used for grazing (no. of businesses)
1.0
1.5
1.6
2.2
1.6
1.4
2.0
0.6
Monitoring ground cover in paddocks (no. of businesses)
2.2
3.3
3.3
3.7
2.7
5.5
3.4
1.3
Land set aside for conservation/protection purposes ('000 ha)
10.4
14.7
14.7
15.1
3.4
7.2
7.8
4.9
Crop residue retained ('000 ha)
4.3
6.6
5.7
7.6
5.7
5.4
44.5
2.8
Crop residue grazed off ('000 ha)
11.3
7.7
17.9
6.7
5.6
7.6
9.5
3.5

(a) Includes ACT



NON-SAMPLING ERROR

15 Errors other than those due to sampling may occur at any stage of a survey or census and are not easily identified or quantified. Non-sampling error can include coverage error, non-response, errors in reporting by providers, and processing error. 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.


ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

16 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

17 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.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

18 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed under the Statistics and Topics @ a Glance 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.

PRIVACY

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


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