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7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2003-04  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/11/2004   
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ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication contains preliminary estimates of principal agricultural commodities and livestock numbers for the 2003-04 season and comparative data for earlier years. The data are based on a response rate of 61% of farms contributing to estimates from the 2004 Agricultural Survey. More comprehensive and updated estimates for the 2003-04 season will be published in June 2005 in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0).


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

INTRODUCTION

Recovery from drought was the most important factor affecting agricultural production in Australia in 2003-04. Harvests for many principal crops rose beyond the levels recorded in normal years. Sheep numbers increased slightly from the previous year, but were still lower than earlier years.


AREA OF CROPS

Preliminary estimates for 2003-04 showed increases in area for wheat, barley, sorghum and oats for grain. Decreases in area were recorded for lupins, canola, cotton lint and sugar cane for crushing.

The total area sown to wheat for grain rose by 17% in 2003-04 to 13.0 million hectares. This was mainly due to a 29% (or 873,000 hectares) increase in New South Wales. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria also reported increases.

The total area sown to barley for grain increased by 14% in 2003-04 to 4.4 million hectares. The largest increases were reported in New South Wales, up by 40% (or 252,000 hectares), Western Australia, up by 12% (or 137,000 hectares) and Victoria, up by 14% (or 108,000 hectares).

The total area of sorghum sown for grain rose by 14% in 2003-04 to 761,000 hectares. In Queensland, the main growing state, the area sown increased by 38% (or 152,000 hectares), while in New South Wales, it fell by 21% (or 53,000 hectares).

The total area sown to oats for grain increased by 18% in 2003-04, to 1.1 million hectares. Two of the three main growing states reported increases: in New South Wales plantings increased by 44% to 445,000 hectares, while in Western Australia plantings increased by 11% to 347,000 hectares. Victoria, however, reported a decrease of 2% to 185,000 hectares.

The total area sown to canola fell by 7% to 1.2 million hectares; the area sown to lupins for grain fell by 15% to 871,000 hectares; the area planted to sugar cane cut for crushing decreased by 2% to 440,000 hectares; and the area planted to cotton fell by 9% to 222,000 hectares.

S1 AREA OF PRINCIPAL CROPS, AUSTRALIA - 1993-94 to 2003-04p

Graph - Area of principal crops, Australia, 1993-94 to 2003-04p



PRODUCTION OF CROPS

Preliminary estimates for 2003-04 showed large increases in production for all major crops, except sugar cane cut for crushing and cotton lint. The large increases were generally attributed to improved conditions following drought in 2002-03. This year's figures show a return to more normal levels of production seen in earlier years, and in some cases exceed earlier production levels.

The production of wheat for grain rose by 159% to 26.2 million tonnes in 2003-04. Production in 2003-04 was 8% higher than that recorded in 2001-02. All mainland states reported significant increases compared to the previous drought-affected year. The largest increases were reported in Western Australia, up by 174% (or 7.0 million tonnes), New South Wales, up by 188% (or 4.7 million tonnes), and Victoria, up by 260% (or 2.3 million tonnes).

Barley for grain production recovered after drought, rising 166% to 10.3 million tonnes in 2003-04. All states reported increases in production compared with 2002-03, the largest rises being for Victoria, up by 386% (or 1.8 million tonnes), Western Australia, up by 129% (or 1.7 million tonnes), and New South Wales, up by 329% (or 1.4 million tonnes).

Grain sorghum production rose by 44% to 2.1 million tonnes in 2003-04, with production up in both Queensland, up by 51% (or 476,000 tonnes), and New South Wales, up by 32% (or 168,000 tonnes). While the rise in Queensland was a result of increased plantings, the rise in New South Wales was a result of higher average yields since area was reduced by 21%.

Production of oats for grain rose by 105% to 2.0 million tonnes in 2003-04, exceeding levels of production reported in the previous ten years. Increases were reported in all of the major growing states, with the largest rises reported in New South Wales, up by 299% (or 446,000 tonnes), Victoria, up by 100% (or 250,000 tonnes), and Western Australia, up by 52% (or 246,000 tonnes).

The production of lupins for grain rose by 64% to 1.2 million tonnes. Canola production rose by 94% to 1.7 million tonnes. In contrast, the production of sugar cane cut for crushing remained steady at 36.7 million tonnes, while the production of cotton for lint fell by 20% to 292,000 tonnes.

S2 PRODUCTION OF PRINCIPAL CROPS, AUSTRALIA - 1993-94 to 2003-04p

Graph - Production of principal crops, Australia, 1993-94 to 2003-04p


LIVESTOCK

Milk cattle

Preliminary estimates indicated that the number of milk cattle in Australia was 3.0 million head at 30 June 2004, little changed from the previous year. Victoria continued to dominate the dairy industry with its herd of 1.9 million. Decreases in herd numbers were recorded in all states except Victoria and Queensland.

S3 NUMBER OF MILK CATTLE, AUSTRALIA - 1993-94 to 2003-04p

Graph - Number of milk cattle, Australia, 1993-94 to 2003-04p



Meat cattle

Preliminary estimates indicated the number of meat cattle in Australia rose slightly to 24.1 million head at 30 June 2004. The largest rise was reported in Queensland (up 6% or 637,000).

S4 NUMBER OF MEAT CATTLE, AUSTRALIA - 1993-94 to 2003-04p

Graph - Number of meat cattle, Australia, 1993-94 to 2003-04p



Sheep and lambs

Preliminary estimates indicated the number of sheep and lambs in Australia rose by 3% to 103 million head at 30 June 2004. The largest increases were reported in New South Wales (up 7% or 2.2 million) and Western Australia (up 4% or 888,000).

The number of lambs marked rose by 8% to 36.6 million in 2003-04.

S5 NUMBER OF SHEEP AND LAMBS, AUSTRALIA - 1993-94 to 2003-04p

Graph - Number of sheep and lambs, Australia, 1993-94 to 2003-04p



Pigs

Preliminary estimates indicated the number of pigs in Australia fell by 5% to 2.5 million at 30 June 2004. Pig numbers were down in all states except Queensland, which remained steady.

S6 NUMBER OF PIGS, AUSTRALIA - 1993-94 to 2003-04p

Graph - Number of pigs, Australia, 1993-94 to 2003-04p


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