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1318.3 - Qld Stats, Jun 2009  
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LAND MANAGEMENT AND FARMING IN QUEENSLAND, 2007-08


Introduction
Land use and agricultural activity
Land management practices
Protecting the natural environment for conservation purposes
Tillage and fallow land
Crop residue
Ground cover
Fertiliser usage
Soil acidity
Further information


INTRODUCTION

This article presents information on agricultural land management practices. Data were collected in the 2007–08 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) conducted by the ABS.

The article provides important information on a variety of management practices of Queensland agricultural businesses, including cropping and pasture management, soil management, fertiliser use, surface water and effluent management, natural environment conservation protection and farm management.


LAND USE AND AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITY

In 2007-08, of all the states and territories, Queensland (82% of state area) had the highest proportion of total land area that was managed by agricultural businesses.

In Queensland, of the 141 million hectares of land managed by agricultural businesses, grazing land accounted for 94%. This included both grazing on improved pasture (23% of agricultural land use) and other grazing land (71% of agricultural land use). Other agricultural land use included 2.4% for cropping. Land on agricultural holdings that was not used for agriculture included 2.1% set aside for conservation.

In 2007-08, the majority of the 29,121 Queensland agricultural businesses were engaged in grazing (66%). Over a third (37%) of all agricultural businesses in Queensland were engaged in cropping activities and a further 15% in horticulture.

Agricultural Businesses(a) by Major Agricultural Activity, 2007-08

Graph: Agricultural Businesses by Major Agricultural Activity, 2007-08


LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

The most common land management practices undertaken by Queensland agricultural businesses in 2007-08 were surface water management (82% of agricultural businesses), monitoring ground cover in paddocks (53%) and application of fertiliser (44%).

Similar to the national average (63%), nearly two-thirds (65%) of Queensland agricultural businesses reported making one or more land management changes over the last five years to address land and soil related problems on their holding.

Agricultural Businesses(a) by Land Management Practices, Queensland, 2007-08
Graph: Agricultural Businesses by Land Management Practices, Queensland, 2007-08

PROTECTING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT FOR CONSERVATION PURPOSES

In 2007-08, 21,476 agricultural businesses or 74% of all Queensland agricultural businesses reported having native vegetation on their holding and just under half (48%) of these protected their native vegetation for conservation purposes.

Rivers or creeks on holdings were reported by 17,555 agricultural businesses or 60% of all Queensland agricultural businesses with 51% of these protecting their river or creek banks for conservation purposes.

Wetlands on holdings were reported by 2,543 agricultural businesses or 8.7% of all Queensland agricultural businesses with 42% of these businesses reporting that they had protected their wetlands for conservation purposes.

TILLAGE AND FALLOW LAND

In 2007-08, 14,308 Queensland agricultural businesses reported that they had prepared land for crops and pastures. Most of these undertook one or two cultivation passes (53%) with 41% reporting three or more cultivations. Of agricultural businesses preparing land for crops or pastures 32% reported using zero-tillage.

Agricultural Businesses(a) by Land Preparation for Crops and Pastures, 2007-08
Graph: Agricultural Businesses by Land Preparation for Crops and pastures, 2007-08

In Queensland, of the 2.7 million hectares of land prepared for crops and pastures, 47% was prepared using zero-till compared with 53% prepared with using one or more cultivation passes. Nationally, 65% of the 26.9 million hectares prepared for crops and pastures was prepared using zero-till.

Of Queensland's 2.4 million hectares of cropping land left fallow between crops, nearly two-thirds (65%) was left fallow for three to nine months. Land left fallow for under three months accounted for 8.2% and land left fallow for more than nine months 27%.

CROP RESIDUE

In 2007-08, 10,682 agricultural businesses or 37% of all Queensland agricultural businesses reported managing crop residue. The most common crop residue management practice undertaken in Queensland was to plough crop residue into the soil (53% of agricultural businesses managing crop residue), followed by crop residue left intact (no cultivation) at 32%.

Agricultural Businesses(a) by Crop Residue Management Practices, Queensland, 2007-08
Graph: Agricultural Businesses by Crop residue Management Practices, Queensland, 2007-08

Of the 2.4 million hectares under crop residue management, crop residue left intact (no cultivation) accounted for 50% of this land followed by crop residue ploughed into the soil (29%).

GROUND COVER

Of the 21,418 Queensland agricultural businesses grazing livestock on crops or pastures, 72% monitor the amount of ground cover in paddocks and 65% of these have established a minimum ground cover level target.

By far the most common method undertaken by agricultural businesses for monitoring ground cover was visual estimates, with 96% reporting using this method. The next most common method, was using photo monitoring standards (comparison with photos of known ground cover levels) reported by 1.6% of agricultural businesses that monitor ground cover.

FERTILISER USAGE

A large proportion (62%) of agricultural businesses in Australia applied fertiliser to their holding between 1 July 2007 and 30 June 2008. The lowest percentage of fertiliser use by agricultural businesses was reported in Queensland (44%).

In Queensland, the most common type of fertiliser used was urea (50% of agricultural businesses using fertiliser) followed by all other manufactured fertilisers (44%). Nationally, around one in three (33%) agricultural businesses that used fertiliser on their holding reported using single superphosphate. In Queensland, superphosphate was reported by only 7% of agricultural businesses that used fertiliser.

In Queensland, the average application rates for manufactured fertilisers ranged between 0.06 and 0.34 tonnes per hectare. The application rate for animal manure was 6.65 tonnes per hectare, more than double the national average (3.19 tonnes per hectare).

SOIL ACIDITY

In 2007-08, 3,317 agricultural businesses or 11% of all Queensland agricultural businesses reported undertaking activities to prevent or manage soil acidity. The most common activities to prevent or manage soil acidity were the application of lime and dolomite. In Queensland, the proportion of agricultural businesses managing soil acidity by applying lime was 58% and by applying dolomite was 19%.

While the application of soil conditioners was the dominant activity undertaken to prevent or manage soil acidity, 22% of agricultural businesses managing soil acidity reported changing the type of fertiliser used and 14% reported other methods.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2007-8 (cat. no. 4627.0)

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