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4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2011   
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APPENDIX - AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production
Water Consumption and water source
Reuse Water and irrigated land

As mentioned in the agriculture section of this publication, there are two different views of agriculture: an industry view and an activity view. This appendix examines the consumption of water by agricultural activities in Australia, as opposed to the industry view presented in the main text.


MAIN FINDINGS

  • The gross value of irrigated agricultural production was $11.5 billion in 2009–10, a slight decrease from $12.0 billion in 2008–09. (Note: Gross value is not a proxy for the highest value water use).
  • Water consumption by all agricultural activities was 7,359 GL in 2009–10, a 3% decrease from 2008–09 when it was 7,589 GL.
  • All agricultural activities accounted for 55% of total Australian water consumption in 2009–10, which is slightly more than 2008–09, when they accounted for 54%.
  • Dairy cattle grazing (868 GL or 12%) and cotton growing (852 GL or 12%) were the agricultural activities with the highest water consumption in 2009–10, followed by sugar cane (756 GL or 10%), fruit and nuts (655 GL or 9%) and cereal crops for grain or seed growing (568 GL or 8%).
  • The area of irrigated agricultural land in 2009–10 was 1.84 million hectares, a 5% increase from 2008–09 when it was 1.76 million.

Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production

Estimating the value of agricultural production resulting from irrigation is difficult. This is because water consumed by crops comes from a variety of sources. In particular, rainwater, which is not included in the Water Account Australia, is usually a component of the water consumed by irrigated crops, and the timing and location of rainfalls affect the amount of irrigation water required. Other factors such as evaporation also affect irrigation water requirements. These factors contribute to regional and temporal variations in the consumption of water for irrigation.

In addition, water is not the only input to agricultural production from irrigated land. Land, fertiliser, labour, machinery and other inputs are also used. Separating the contribution these factors make to total production is practically impossible with current data. Therefore, the estimates of the Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (GVIAP) presented below attribute all of the gross value of production from irrigated land to irrigated agricultural production. GVIAP should not be used as a proxy for determining the highest value water uses.

GVIAP estimates for 2009–10 were derived from the ABS Agricultural Resource Management Survey, which collected information including area and production of crops, livestock numbers and products, area of crops/pastures irrigated and volume of water applied. The ABS also collects and publishes data on the value of agricultural commodities produced (see Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2009–10 (ABS cat no. 7503.0). Further details on the methods used to derive the estimates are presented in the Explanatory Notes of the publication Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2009–10 (ABS cat. no. 4610.0.55.008) and in the information paper Methods of estimating the Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (ABS cat. no. 4610.0.55.006).

The total gross value of irrigated agricultural production in 2009–10 was $11.5 billion compared to $12.0 billion in 2008–09, a 4% decrease (see table below). Vegetables were the largest contributor to the value ($2,385 million or 21%), followed by fruit and nuts ($2,242 million or 20%) and dairy production ($1,826 million or 16%).

The greatest decreases in GVIAP from 2008–09 to 2009–10 occurred in South Australia, from $1,635 million to $1,360 million (a 17% decrease) and Western Australia, from $846 million to $758 million (a 10% decrease).

Between 2008–09 and 2009–10 there were significant reductions in the GVIAP of dairy production (from $2,274 million to $1,826 million), vegetables (from $2,625 million to $2,386 million) and cereals for grain and seed (from $317 million to $143 million). Over the same time period the largest increase in GVIAP was for sugar (from $537 million to $750 million), while rice had the largest percentage increase (161%), from $34 million to $90 million.

Note that estimates of GVIAP are given in current prices; that is, estimates are valued at the commodity prices of the period to which the observation relates.


WATER CONSUMPTION, Agriculture, by activity (a) —2008–09 and 2009–10

GROSS VALUE OF IRRIGATED AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION (a)—2008–09 and 2009–10

AUSTRALIA
STATE AND TERRITORY 2009–10
Commodity groups
2008–09
2009–10
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m

Cereals for grain and seed
317
143
98
^ 8
30
^ 3
np
4
np
np
Total hay production
170
192
^ 56
^ 58
^ 54
^ 18
^ 1
5
^ 1
-
Cotton
620
664
394
-
271
-
-
-
-
-
Rice
34
90
89
-
^ 1
-
-
-
-
-
Sugar cane
537
750
np
-
np
-
-
-
-
-
Other broadacre crops
87
116
np
* 2
np
* 1
np
85
np
-
Fruit and nuts
2 390
2 242
289
732
700
260
150
73
39
-
Grapes
1 200
1 069
163
^ 367
^ 31
376
* 109
^ 18
np
np
Vegetables for human consumption and seed
2 625
2 386
286
511
721
393
253
202
np
np
Nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf
983
1 037
241
324
261
49
133
21
6
2
Dairy production
2 274
1 826
^ 341
^ 906
^ 178
^ 141
^ 65
195
-
-
Production from meat cattle
455
608
108
^ 185
216
^ 49
^ 18
33
-
-
Production from sheep and other livestock
201
362
^ 69
^ 159
* 1
^ 71
^ 26
36
-
-
Total GVIAP
11 953
11 485
2 147
3 254
3 224
1 360
757
671
69
3

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
na not available
^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
(a) Gross value in current prices


Note that there was a slight revision to the methodology used to estimate GVIAP for livestock (dairy, meat cattle, sheep and other livestock) in 2009–10, so the movements in these estimates between 2008–09 and 2009–10 should be treated with caution. See the Explanatory Notes in the ABS publication Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2009–10 (ABS cat. no. 4610.0.55.008) for more details.

For a full time series of GVIAP data from 2000–01 to 2008–09 (for all Sates and Territories), plus Murray–Darling Basin and Natural Resource Management (NRM) region data from 2005–06 to 2008–09, see the ABS publication Experimental Estimates of the Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2000–01 to 2008–09 (ABS cat. no. 4610.0.55.008). Note that the changes in the livestock methodology (described above) will be reflected in a revised GVIAP time series to be published in 2012.
Water Consumption

The agricultural activity with the highest water consumption in 2009–10 was dairy cattle grazing (868 GL or 12% of total consumption for Australia), followed by cotton growing (852 GL or 12%) and sugar cane growing (756 GL or 10%) (see table below). The activity with the largest increase in water consumption from 2008–09 to 2009–10 was rice growing (143%).

WATER CONSUMPTION, Agriculture, by activity—2008–09 and 2009–10

AUSTRALIA
STATE AND TERRITORY 2009–10
Commodity groups
2008–09
2009–10
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
ML
ML
ML
ML
ML
ML
ML
ML
ML
ML

Cereals for grain/seed
829 495
567 821
393 865
31 762
112 499
6 621
15 533
np
np
np
Hay production(a)
547 790
551 170
183 232
136 997
116 184
86 581
np
np
3 263
-
Pastures for seed
182 055
na
na
na
na
na
na
na
na
na
Cotton
880 003
851 950
468 843
-
383 107
-
-
-
-
-
Rice
101 474
246 909
np
np
np
-
-
-
-
-
Sugar cane
761 086
756 317
np
-
np
-
-
-
-
-
Other broadacre crops
147 042
139 292
42 314
np
32 416
3 175
20 879
34 616
np
-
Fruit and nuts
635 103
654 663
116 531
259 716
122 668
103 372
36 519
7 649
8 208
-
Grapes
575 095
515 484
150 580
155 293
16 279
174 513
14 019
np
np
69
Vegetables for human consumption and seed
457 348
419 229
68 528
93 797
87 576
73 272
50 315
44 322
1 395
25
Nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf
69 377
63 483
18 488
11 247
18 438
2 880
10 783
896
610
142
Dairy cattle(b)
773 545
868 294
109 942
500 519
53 625
84 202
28 856
91 120
29
-
Meat cattle(b)
455 937
498 506
85 154
208 876
93 538
39 419
40 117
31 324
78
-
Sheep/other livestock(b)
289 041
354 803
104 804
88 364
7 555
90 695
20 506
42 846
32
-
Other agricultural water use(c)
824 909
762 716
201 820
139 366
213 380
60 291
88 207
23 413
np
232
Total(d)
7 588 682
7 358 756
2 204 243
1 644 108
2 037 251
772 283
340 265
305 366
54 634
607

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated.
(a) Includes pasture for silage.
(b) Irrigated land used for grazing.
(c) Includes livestock drinking water and dairy and piggeries cleaning.
(d) Total includes pastures or crops not classified elsewhere.
na not available


Water Source

The agricultural activities with the highest self-extracted water consumption in 2009–10 were dairy cattle grazing (433 GL), 'other' agricultural water use (which includes livestock drinking water and dairy and piggeries cleaning) (382 GL), sugar cane growing (323 GL) and cotton growing (310 GL) (see graph and table below). The activity with the highest distributed water consumption was cotton growing (530 GL), which was one of the few activities that consumed more distributed water than self-extracted, the others being fruit and nut growing, grape growing, rice, other broadacre crops, and nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf growing.

WATER CONSUMPTION, Agriculture, by activity and water type(a)2009–10


WATER CONSUMPTION, Agriculture, by activity and water type— 2009–10

Self-extracted
Distributed
Reuse
Total
Commodity groups
ML
ML
ML
ML

Cereals for grain/seed
309 955
248 031
9 835
567 821
Hay production(a)
307 155
219 808
24 207
551 170
Pastures for seed
-
-
-
-
Cotton
309 627
530 126
12 197
851 950
Rice
99 981
144 214
2 713
246 909
Sugar cane
322 520
420 544
13 253
756 317
Other broadacre crops
47 361
89 904
2 026
139 292
Fruit and nuts
207 740
442 666
4 257
654 663
Grapes
151 418
361 985
2 082
515 484
Vegetables for human consumption and seed
233 630
173 685
11 915
419 229
Nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf
26 014
34 081
3 387
63 483
Dairy cattle(b)
432 866
413 762
21 666
868 294
Meat cattle(b)
248 518
237 550
12 439
498 506
Sheep/other livestock(b)
176 878
169 072
8 853
354 803
Other crops
76 827
30 559
734
108 119
Other agricultural water use(c)
381 837
377 250
3 629
762 716
Total volume applied(d)
3 332 327
3 893 236
133 194
7 358 756

(a) Includes pasture for silage.
(b) Irrigated land used for grazing.
(c) Includes livestock drinking water and dairy and piggeries cleaning.
(d) Total includes pastures or crops not classified elsewhere.


Reuse Water

Reuse water consumption for all agricultural activities in 2009–10 was 133 GL (see table above) which was 25% higher than in 2008–09, when reuse water consumption was 106 GL. The agricultural activities consuming the most reuse water were hay production (24 GL), dairy cattle grazing (22 GL) and sugar cane growing (13 GL). There were large decreases in the consumption of reuse water for cotton growing (11 GL), and grape growing (5 GL) between 2008–09 and 2009–10 (graph below).

REUSE WATER CONSUMPTION, Agriculture, by activity—2008–09 and 2009–10




Irrigated Land

The area of irrigated agricultural land increased from 1.76 million hectares in 2008–09 to 1.84 million hectares in 2009–10 (see table below), a 5% increase. There were increases in all irrigated commodity groups except for grapes, cereals for grain/seed and vegetables for human consumption and seed. The largest absolute increase in the area of irrigated land was in sheep/other livestock from 88,700 hectares in 2008–09 to 141,300 hectares in 2009–10. The largest absolute decrease in the area of land irrigated was for cereals for grain/seed, from 292,700 hectares in 2008–09 to 217,600 hectares in 2009–10.

AREA IRRIGATED CROPS AND PASTURES, by activity—2008–09 and 2009–10

AUSTRALIA
2009–10
Commodity groups
2008–09
2009–10
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha
'000 ha

Cereals for grain/seed
292.7
217.6
151.5
18.7
37.1
5.1
np
3.8
np
-
Hay production
156.5
192.2
58.2
62.5
38.4
24.4
np
np
0.3
-
Pastures for seed
39.7
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Cotton
141.9
153.2
80.1
-
73.1
-
-
-
-
-
Rice
7.2
18.9
np
np
np
-
-
-
-
-
Sugar cane
191.9
212.6
np
-
np
-
-
-
-
-
Other broadacre crops
51.8
59.1
21.1
np
np
1.4
3.0
17.1
np
Fruit and nuts
128.0
134.2
26.5
45.6
33.6
14.9
7.5
3.1
3.2
-
Grapes
172.3
162.6
37.2
38.1
np
71.9
11.2
1.3
np
0.1
Vegetables for human consumption and seed
104.6
104.3
14.8
25.2
29.4
11.8
8.0
14.6
0.7
-
Nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf
12.9
13.1
3.8
3.0
4.0
0.8
1.2
np
np
-
Dairy cattle(a)
221.7
229.5
37.0
131.7
15.9
13.3
5.7
25.9
-
-
Meat cattle(a)
133.0
171.4
40.4
70.1
30.5
10.1
6.8
13.5
-
-
Sheep/other livestock(a)
88.7
141.3
55.6
39.1
4.3
22.2
3.4
16.6
-
-
Total irrigated land(b)
1 760.8
1 840.6
550.0
440.7
502.6
186.5
50.8
104.8
5.0
0.2
Total agricultural land(c)
409 028.7
398 580.2
58 548.0
12 851.5
129 667.6
45 747.0
94 391.5
1 647.4
55 686.8
40.5

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication bit included in totals where applicable unless otherwise indicated.
(a) Irrigated land used for grazing.
(b) Total includes pastures or crops not classified elsewhere.
(c) Total area of all agricultural holdings. Note that not all land on agricultural holdings is used for agricultural purposes.


The following graph shows the increases in area irrigated in Australia from 1920 to 2010. There are some gaps in the data series, however it can be seen that the area irrigated increased steadily from 1955 to 2006. There is a noticeable decrease from 2007 due to the effects of the drought leading to reduced water availability.


AREA IRRIGATED, Australia—1920-2010


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