7101.0 - Ag Mag - The Agriculture Newsletter, May 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2011   
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The final estimates for the Water Use on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4618.0) were released on 11 May 2011. The data was collected as part of last year's Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and covered agricultural water use, including pastures and crops irrigated, irrigation water management and sources of agricultural water, as well as related responses to adverse seasonal conditions. Data are available for a range of sub-state levels, including Natural Resource Management (NRM) region, Statistical Division (SD) and the Murray - Darling Basin (MDB). The Water Use on Australian Farms publication contains a number of tables and maps in PDF form and also in separate data cubes.

Here are just a few items of interest taken from the publication:
  • almost a quarter (24%) of all agricultural land is located in the Murray - Darling Basin
  • of the 399 million hectares of agricultural land in Australia in 2009 -10, less than 1% was irrigated, but 30% of all agricultural businesses undertook irrigation during that period
  • pasture for grazing accounted for the greatest amount of irrigated land with 542,000 hectares. The volume of irrigated water applied represented 26% of the national total

Climatic conditions affect water availability and the need for irrigation to supplement rainfall and so information from the Bureau of Meteorology over the twelve month period from July 2009 to June 2010 is contained in an appendix to help with interpretation of the data in this publication.