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8150.0 - Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, Jun 2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2001   
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AUSTRALIA

At June 2000, 58% of the 146,371 Australian farms with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more, used a computer. This represented a 17% increase in the number of such farms using a computer since March 1999 when the survey was last conducted.

At June 2000, an estimated 34% (or 49,499) of the 146,371 farms in Australia used the Internet. Although fewer farms used the Internet than used a computer at June 2000, a 91% increase in the number of farms using the Internet over the 15 months to June 2000 far exceeded growth in the use of computers for the same period.


REGIONAL DATA

The Northern Territory reported both the highest proportion of farms using computers (71%) and the highest proportion of farms using the Internet (49%). New South Wales reported both the lowest proportion of farms using a computer (53%) and the lowest proportion of farms using the Internet (31%).

Across non-capital city Statistical Divisions throughout Australia the proportion of farms using a computer ranged from 43% to 78%. The proportions of farms using the Internet ranged from 25% to 45%.


FARM INDUSTRY

The Poultry farming industry reported both the highest proportion of farms using a computer (72%) and the highest proportion of Internet use (45%). The Grain, sheep and beef cattle farming industry reported both the lowest proportion of computer use (55%) and the lowest proportion of farms using the Internet (31%).


FARM SIZE

There was a strong relationship between farm size, as measured by the estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO), and the use of a computer and the Internet. As farm size increased so did the proportion of farms using a computer and the Internet.


1 FARMS USING A COMPUTER, BY STATE/TERRITORY


March 1998
March 1999
June 2000



Farms using a computer
Farms using a computer
Farms using a computer
no.
%
no.
%
no.
%

New South Wales
16,934
40
21,545
49
23,028
53
Victoria
13,538
37
18,075
49
21,549
58
Queensland
11,311
37
13,870
45
17,841
58
South Australia
6,795
43
8,361
53
10,180
64
Western Australia
6,850
49
8,270
59
9,466
68
Tasmania
1,608
36
2,186
49
2,507
57
Northern Territory
196
52
241
65
260
71
Australian Capital Territory
58
55
66
64
67
70
Australia
57,290
40
72,615
49
84,898
58


Source: Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 1999-2000 (Cat. No. 8150.0).


2 FARMS USING THE INTERNET, BY STATE/TERRITORY

March 1998
March 1999
June 2000



Farms using the Internet
Farms using the Internet
Farms using the Internet
no.
%
no.
%
no.
%

New South Wales
5,006
12
8,231
19
13,596
31
Victoria
3,621
10
6,174
17
12,270
33
Queensland
3,075
10
4,830
16
9,811
32
South Australia
1,896
12
3,030
19
6,442
40
Western Australia
1,428
10
2,548
18
5,621
40
Tasmania
552
12
973
22
1,539
35
Northern Territory
81
22
114
31
180
49
Australian Capital Territory
21
20
27
26
40
42
Australia
15,680
11
25,927
18
49,499
34


Source: Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 1999-2000 (Cat. No. 8150.0).


EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1. This publication presents information on farm use of computers and the Internet at June 2000. The data were obtained from the 1999-2000 Agricultural Commodity Survey. Some comparable data from the 1997-98 and 1998-99 Agricultural Commodity Surveys have been included.


AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY SURVEY

2. The scope of the 1999-2000 Agricultural Commodity Survey is establishments undertaking agricultural activity which have an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more. The concept of an establishment is the same as that used by the ABS for industry statistics collections. The establishment is the smallest accounting unit of a business within a State or Territory, controlling its productive activities and maintaining a specified range of detailed data enabling value added to be calculated. In general an establishment covers all operations at a physical location, but may consist of a group of locations provided they are within the same State or Territory. The majority of establishments operate at one location only.

3. The 1999-2000 survey consisted of a sample of 24% of the farming establishments operating in Australia at the end of June 2000. The information technology questions included in the 1999-2000 Agricultural Commodity Survey covered the use of a computer and the Internet at the end of June 2000.


GEOGRAPHICAL, INDUSTRY AND SIZE CLASSIFICATIONS

4. The data contained in tables in this publication have, where appropriate, been classified on a geographical, industry and farm size basis by classifying farm establishments:
  • to Statistical Divisions (SD) within States and Territories, as set out in the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (Cat. no. 1216.0);
  • to industry according to the methodology described in Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (Cat. no. 1292.0); and
  • to EVAO ranges according to the estimated value of agricultural operations (or activity) undertaken by an establishment.

5. Because the survey covers establishments with an EVAO of $5,000 or more, it includes establishments whose primary activity is not farming activity. These establishments are classified to a non-agricultural ANZSIC class and details for these are shown separately in the farm industry tables as 'Other'.


ACCURACY OF DATA

6. The estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling error. They are based on information obtained from a sample of establishments in the surveyed population. Consequently, the estimates are subject to sampling variability, that is, they may differ from the figures that would have been obtained if all units 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 have varied by chance because only a sample of units was included.

7. 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 a census had been conducted, and approximately 19 chances in 20 that the difference will be less than two SEs.

8. Sampling variability can be measured by the relative standard error (RSE) which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. The RSE is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the percentage standard errors likely to have occurred due to sampling, and this avoids the need to refer also to the size of the estimate.

9. The following table provides RSEs for a selection of the Australian estimates presented in this publication.


RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS FOR SELECTED INDICATORS

Farms using a computer
Farms using the Internet
%
%
State
New South Wales
2
3
Victoria
2
3
Queensland
2
3
South Australia
2
2
Western Australia
2
3
Tasmania
3
4
Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory
Australia
1
1
Industry
Horticulture and fruit growing
1
2
Grain, sheep and beef cattle farming
1
2
Dairy cattle farming
3
5
Poultry farming
4
5
Other livestock farming
5
6
Other crop growing
4
5
Other
9
10
Farm size
Less than $50,000
2
3
$50,000–$149,999
2
3
$150,000–$249,999
2
3
$250,000–$499,999
2
2
$500,000–$999,999
2
2
$1m or more
2
3



10. As an example of the above, the estimate of the proportion of farms in New South Wales with Internet access at June 2000 is 31% (or 13,596 farms) and the RSE on this estimate is 3%, giving a SE of 1% (or 408 farms). Therefore, there would be two chances in three that, if all units had been included in the survey, a proportion in the range of 30% to 32% (13,188 to 14,004 farms) would have been obtained, and 19 chances in 20 (i.e. a confidence interval of 95%) that the proportion would have been within the range of 29% to 33% (12,780 to 14,412 farms).

11. Errors other than those due to sampling may occur because of deficiencies in the register of units from which the sample was selected, non-response, and imperfections in reporting by respondents. Inaccuracies of this kind are referred to as non-sampling errors and they 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, efficient operating procedures and systems, and appropriate methodology.

12. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the components and the total. In addition, percentages have been calculated using the unrounded figures.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

13. 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

14. The most recent issue of other ABS publications on the use and production of information technology and telecommunication goods and services in Australia are listed below:

Business Use of Information Technology, Australia, 1999-2000 (Cat. no. 8129.0)

Government Use of Information Technology, 1999-2000 (Cat. no. 8119.0) To be released shortly

Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2000 (Cat. no. 8146.0)

Information Technology, Australia, 1998-99 (Cat. no. 8126.0)

Internet Activity, Australia, June 2001 (Cat. no. 8153.0) To be released shortly

Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 1998-99 (Cat. no. 8150.0)

Use of the Internet by Householders, Australia, November 2000 (Cat. no. 8147.0)


AVAILABILITY OF UNPUBLISHED STATISTICS

15. As well as statistics included in this publication, the ABS has a range of data on the use of selected information technologies by non-metropolitan households. Inquiries about these statistics should be made by telephoning Robynne Knowler in Canberra 02 6252 5609 or email robynne.knowler@abs.gov.au.


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