The Agriculture Program provides agricultural policy makers and other key users of agricultural statistics with reliable, relevant and timely information on the social, economic and environmental characteristics of agriculture, including: commodity production; economic performance; farm management; land use and land management practices; natural resource management practices including water management; and foreign ownership of agricultural land, businesses and water entitlements. The main collections include an annual survey of agricultural commodities and land management practices, a five-yearly Agricultural Census, and a range of other surveys covering specific aspects of agriculture and related activity.
The main clients of the program include a range of Australian, State and Territory government agencies, industry organisations, financial institutions, academic institutions, and private sector organisations providing services to the agricultural sector. Government agencies use the data to formulate and monitor policies on agriculture and land management practices, and industry organisations use agricultural data to assess the relative performance of the various industries and for the development of marketing and export strategies. The data also informs decision-making by farmers, land managers and the wider community relating to agricultural and land management practices.
Preliminary estimates on the production and value of selected commodities for the preceding financial year are released annually in November in Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary (ABS cat. no. 7111.0) and Value of Principal Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, Preliminary (ABS cat. no. 7501.0). Estimates are at the national and state levels. Final estimates for major agricultural outputs and activity are published the following June in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (ABS cat. no. 7121.0), including data for finer levels of geography (below state-level) which are released subsequently in data cubes. Final data related to the value of agricultural commodities is published in Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia (ABS cat. no. 7503.0). The values of irrigated agricultural commodities are published in Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (ABS cat. no. 4610.0.55.008).
Details of agricultural land management practices are available in Land Management and Farming in Australia (ABS cat. no. 4627.0). An expanded suite of land management practices data will be released biennially starting in 2013.
Details from the first Agricultural Land and Water Ownership Survey (ALWOS) were released in Agricultural Land and Water Ownership, December 2010, (ABS cat. no. 7127.0). The ABS will continue to release information on the foreign ownership of agricultural businesses, land and water entitlements in coming years. Data will be collected via stand-alone sample surveys in 2013 and 2018, and through supplementary surveys to the 2016 and 2021 Agricultural Census.
Details of agricultural water use and management are available annually in Water Use on Australian Farms (ABS cat. no. 4618.0). Agricultural water use information is also included in the environmental-economic Water Account, Australia (ABS cat. no. 4610.0) which is produced every year.
Details of the number of livestock slaughtered for human consumption and meat produced are available on a monthly basis in Livestock and Meat, Australia (ABS cat. no. 7218.0.55.001). Details of other livestock products including poultry, meat and wool are published quarterly in Livestock Products, Australia (ABS cat. no. 7215.0).
Information about the Australian wheat industry is released monthly in two publications. National and State stocks of wheat held by grain handlers are released in Stocks of Grain Held by Bulk Grain Handling Companies and Grain Traders, Australia (cat. no. 7122.0.55.001). Additionally, wheat exports information including planned exports of wheat grain are published in Wheat Stocks and Exports, Australia (ABS cat. no. 7307.0)
The main medium-term developments in the program are to:
- release the 2010–11 Agricultural Census results, including small area data – due June-October 2012
- deliver high-quality data on agricultural land management practices and agricultural land and water ownership to support government and other user needs – ongoing over 2013–2021
- investigate ways to further improve outputs from ABS’ agricultural statistics collections, including improvements to data capture, data delivery systems and data visualisation – ongoing over 2012–2016
- complete a review of the ABS’ rural environment and agricultural statistics program to ensure it remains relevant and responsive to emerging data needs – forward work program to 2016 due June 2012; proposed work plan for 2016–2022 due April 2013.
(A/g) Assistant Statistician
Agriculture and Rural Environment