4627.0 - Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2017   
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KEY FIGURES

LAND USE ON FARMS, Australia, year ended 30 June 2016

2015-16
Change since
2014-15 (a)
%

AGRICULTURAL BUSINESSES AND LAND AREA

Agricultural businesses (no.)
85 681
1.1%
Area of agricultural holdings ('000 ha)
371 078
1.4%
Total land area ('000 ha) (b)
769 202

LAND USE FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION ('000 ha)

Land use for agricultural production
343 629
3.3%
Crops
30 378
-0.3%
Grazing
312 224
3.4%
- Improved pasture
37 231
7.1%
- Other grazing land
274 993
2.9%
Forestry (c)
884
na
- Plantation forest
240
na
- Native forests
645
na
Other agricultural purposes
143
49.9%
Land not used for agricultural purposes
14 543
8.3%
Land set aside for conservation/protection purposes
6 915
3.3%
Other land not used for agricultural production
7 628
13.3%


(a) Percentage movement based on revised 2014-15 estimates using the new scope of $40,000 or greater
(b) Total land area supplied by Geoscience Australia
(c) Total area of Land used for forestry now includes the area of both Plantation and Native forests.
na Not available

KEY POINTS
  • Agricultural businesses operated across 48% of Australia's total land area during 2015-16. At 30 June 2016 there were 371 million hectares of agricultural land in Australia, a 1.4% increase on the previous year. Coinciding with this increase in agricultural land, there were 952 more agricultural businesses at 30 June 2016, representing a 1.1% increase on 2014-15.
  • Mixed seasonal conditions across much of the country saw the area of land used for crops in Australia decrease marginally to 30.4 million hectares in 2015-16. The largest decrease occurred in Western Australia, which was down by 232,400 hectares (or 2.4%) to stand at 9.4 million hectares. In contrast, South Australia reported a 191,600 hectare (or 4.3%) increase in land used for crops.
  • Of the 371 million hectares of land operated by agricultural businesses in Australia, 312.2 million hectares (or 84%) was used for grazing which is a 2% increase when compared to 2014-15. An estimated 61,400 agricultural businesses (or 72%) of all agricultural businesses, reported grazing land, a proportion virtually unchanged from the previous year.
  • Queensland continues to be the largest contributor to the area of grazing land, with an estimated 116.6 million hectares of land used for grazing in 2015-16.
Grazing Land area, hectares (millions), 2015-16
by Australian Agricultural Environment Regions


Area Set Aside for Conservation or Protection Purposes, hectares ('000), 2015-16
by Australian Agricultural Environment Regions


CHANGE IN COLLECTION SCOPE
  • The scope for the 2015-16 Agricultural Census and Land Management Practices Survey was all agricultural businesses with an Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) of $40,000 or greater. This is a change from previous ABS rural environment and agricultural collections, where a scope of EVAO of $5,000 or greater was used. This change was foreshadowed in February 2016 in Agricultural Census: Nature and Content, 2015-16 (cat. no 7100.1).
  • The 2014-15 estimates presented in this publication have been revised to use the new scope of $40,000 or greater.
  • For more information about EVAO and the change in scope, refer to the Explanatory Notes within this release.