4627.0 - Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2014-15 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/05/2016   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1 This publication presents estimates from the 2014-15 Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey (REACS). Included are detailed statistics on agricultural land use and land management practices being undertaken by agricultural businesses in Australia.

2 Data at state and sub-state levels (Natural Resource Management regions) will be released as data cubes (Excel (xls), zipped Excel files and comma separated value (csv) files) attached to this publication.

3 The REACS is conducted annually in the years between the five–yearly Agricultural Census.

4 Prior to 2012–13, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted an Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and an Agricultural Commodity Survey (ACS) in alternating years. In 2012–13, the ARMS and ACS were combined to form the REACS.

5 Estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from the REACS for the financial year ended 30 June 2015. A copy of the 2014–15 REACS survey form can be found under the Downloads tab of this publication.

SCOPE AND COVERAGE

6 The scope of the 2014–15 REACS was all businesses undertaking agricultural activity recorded on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) above a minimum cut–off applied to the value of their agricultural production.

7 For the purposes of this survey a business is identified as undertaking agricultural activity if any of the primary or secondary productive activities of that unit fall within the Agriculture Subdivision (Subdivision 01) as defined by the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). For more information, please refer to Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).

8 The ABSBR is based on the Australian Business Register (ABR). Most businesses and organisations in Australia are required to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) for their business operations. The ABR stores details about businesses and organisations when they register for an ABN.

9 A minimum cut-off value of $5,000 was used to determine whether an agricultural business operation was in-scope for the 2014–15 REACS. This measure of size was based on the ABS' Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) or a derived value based on turnover reported by an agricultural business operation in its Businesses Activity Statement (BAS).

10 The 2014–15 REACS final estimates are based on a response rate of 80% from a sample of 34,627 agricultural businesses selected.


RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES (SAMPLE ERROR)

11 The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from respondents to the REACS for the year ended 30 June 2015. The sample population for the REACS is drawn from the total agricultural business population in scope of the collection, and are subject to sampling variability; that is, they may differ from the figures that would have been produced if all businesses had been included in the survey.

12 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 was taken or received. There are approximately two chances in three that a 'sample' estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all establishments had responded or been reported for, and approximately nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two SEs.

13 In this publication, 'sampling' variability of the estimates is measured by the relative standard error (RSE) which is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. Most published estimates have RSEs less than 10%. For some states and territories with limited production of certain commodities, RSEs are greater than 10%. Estimates that have an estimated RSE between 10% and 25% should be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for some purposes. Estimates with an RSE between 25% and 50% should also be used with caution as they are subject to sampling variability too high for most practical purposes. Estimates with an RSE greater than 50% are considered too unreliable for general use.

RSEs for all estimates are available on request.

14 A table with RSEs for selected land management practices follows:


RELATIVE STANDARD ERRORS OF SELECTED LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES - at 30 June 2015

Aust.
NSW/ACT
Vic,
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Fertiliser - Fertiliser use - All fertilisers - Area applied to (no. of businesses)
1.9
2.7
2.9
20.6
4.3
2.8
3.7
5.4
Land use - Land mainly used for crops - Area (ha)
1.4
3.0
3.6
4.6
3.4
2.5
14.3
2.8
Land use - Land mainly used for grazing - Total area (ha)
0.7
4.3
2.5
4.5
4.3
6.1
3.9
3.0
Land use - Land set aside for conservation/protection purposes - Area (ha)
2.3
10.0
7.2
15.4
13.4
11.2
7.7
13.6
Crop and pasture management -Crop land cultivated - No cultivation (apart from sowing or planting) - Area (ha)
2.1
4.2
5.7
4.8
5.7
3.7
5.2
1.9
Crop and pasture management - Pasture land cultivated - No cultivation (apart from sowing or planting) - Area (ha)
4.8
6.8
9.6
24.4
9.5
9.0
14.4
24.9
Crop and pasture management - Intercropping undertaken - Total area (ha)
7.9
12.6
17.8
16.3
17.5
27.0
13.0
4.0


RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES (NON-SAMPLE ERROR)

15 Editing is used in ABS business surveys to correct a number of non-sampling errors such as misunderstanding of questions or instructions, mis-coding, non-availability of data, non-response and non-contact. ABS Agricultural surveys output a large number of data items across multiple regions (Australia, State/Territory and sub-state regions) and industry breakdowns. While every effort is made to ensure these data items are of high quality, limited resources mean that not all potential non-sampling errors can be addressed in a timely manner.

16 A hierarchical significance based editing approach to these output estimates is utilised to maximise the effectiveness of editing on the quality of the estimates whilst managing the overall editing load. This approach involves ranking each of the estimates based on their significance, relative to other estimates, with higher ranked estimates being investigated further. This targeted approach ensures that editing resources are focussed on the most important anomalies.

17 This hierarchical editing approach does mean that some estimates will have had less editing resource directed to them. A potential consequence of the targeted editing effort is that users may notice inconsistencies when comparing various population totals across different estimate types, especially in the case of smaller estimates and/or finer breakdowns.

ROUNDING AND CONFIDENTIALITY

18 Where figures for individual states or territories have been suppressed for reasons of confidentiality, they have been included in relevant totals.

19 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

20 Final estimates of agricultural commodities, value of agricultural commodities produced and water use by agricultural businesses are also available for the 2014-15 financial year. These estimates are located in:


21 ABS publications related to the REACS can be accessed under the Statistics page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

ABS DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

22 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

GENERAL ACKNOWLEDGMENT

23 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.

PRIVACY

24 The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.