7121.0 - Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/06/2006   
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This publication contains final estimates for the main commodities collected in the 2004-05 Agricultural Survey. It contains detailed statistics on crops, livestock and livestock products, land use and industry and size characteristics of farms.


No changes in this issue.


Information about ABS activities in the field of agriculture statistics is available from the Agriculture Statistics theme page on the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>. To access the Agriculture theme page, select 'Industry' under 'Themes' from the menu on the home page.

The 2004-05 Agriculture Survey also collected information relating to - Water use on farms, Computer and Internet usage by farm businesses (including the main type of Internet connection used by the business), Fencing to protect land from grazing and Trees and shrubs planted. This information is available by special request from the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Gordon Cameron on Hobart (03) 6222 5939.


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Gordon Cameron on Hobart (03) 6222 5939.




The 2004-05 Agricultural Survey found that the number of farms in Australia had changed little from the previous year, with an estimated 129,934 farms at 30 June 2005.

The beef cattle farming industry remained the largest in terms of farm numbers, with around 28% of all farms. The mixed farming sector (grain-sheep/beef cattle) was the next largest with around 13% of all farms, followed by the sheep farming and grain growing sectors with around 10% each.


EVAO of operations

The median estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of all farms was approximately $124,000 in 2004-05. Around 16% of all farms (20,300 farms) had an EVAO below $22,500, while at the other end of the scale, around 14% (18,200 farms) had an EVAO above $499,999.

The majority of farms with EVAO below $22,500 were involved in beef cattle farming (11,700 farms) and sheep farming (2,300 farms) while the majority of farms with EVAO above $499,999 were involved in grain growing (4,200 farms), mixed grain-sheep/beef cattle farming (3,100 farms), beef cattle farming (2,000 farms) and dairy cattle farming (1,900 farms).

On an industry basis, the cotton, poultry for meat, poultry for eggs, pig, and apple and pear industries were dominated by farms with large EVAOs, with around 75%, 59%, 38%, 36% and 36% respectively, having an EVAO greater than $499,999.

Area of operations

Most farms in 2004-05 were between 100 and 499 hectares in size, and accounted for 41,900 farms (or 32% of all farms). These farms were mainly engaged in beef cattle grazing, dairying, sheep grazing or mixed grain-sheep/beef cattle growing.

Small farms under 50 hectares were the second main size group and accounted for 25,400 farms (or 20% of all farms). These small farms were mainly engaged in beef cattle grazing, grape growing, fruit growing, vegetable growing and plant nursery operations.

Large farms of over 2,499 hectares accounted for 11% (14,700) of all farms and were mainly engaged in grazing or grain growing operations.



The 2004-05 harvest for many of the principal crops fell from the previous year's highs despite increased plantings.

Estimates for 2004-05 show increases in area planted for wheat, barley, canola, grain sorghum and cotton. Decreases in area planted were recorded for oats, lupins for grain, sugar cane and rice.

Estimates for 2004-05 show decreased production for all major crops, except grain sorghum, sugar cane and cotton. The fall in production reported for winter crops (i.e. wheat, barley, oats, canola and lupins) was largely due to dry conditions during their growing season. In contrast, production for summer crops (i.e. grain sorghum and cotton) was assisted by an improvement in water availability and timely rainfall.

Production of major crops, Australia - 2002-03 to 2004-05
Graph: Production of major crops, Australia—2002–03 to 2004–05



Less than ideal conditions during the growing season saw wheat production fall from the previous year's record despite an increase in area planted.

The total area sown to wheat for grain rose by 3% in 2004-05, to 13.4 million hectares. Increases were reported in the three main growing states, with New South Wales up by 7% (or 273,000 hectares), Western Australia up by 4% (or 201,000 hectares) and South Australia up by 1% (or 19,700 hectares).

Wheat production fell by 16% in 2004-05, to 21.9 million tonnes, down from the previous year's record. Decreases were reported in Western Australia (down 22% or 2.5 million tonnes), Victoria (down 39% or 1.2 million tonnes) and South Australia (down 25% or 870,000 tonnes). New South Wales reported increased wheat production (up by 3% or 249,000 tonnes).


The total area sown to barley for grain increased by 4% in 2004-05, to 4.6 million hectares. The largest increases were reported in New South Wales (up 8% or 72,100 hectares), South Australia (up 5% or 64,200 hectares) and Victoria (up 6% or 52,700 hectares).

Production of barley for grain fell by 25% in 2004-05, to 7.7 million tonnes. All states reported decreased production compared with the previous year. The largest falls were reported in Victoria (down 43% or 969,000 tonnes), South Australia (down 26% or 712,000 tonnes) and Western Australia (down 21% or 681,000 tonnes).


The total area sown to oats for grain fell by 18% in 2004-05 to 894,000 hectares, after four years of increased plantings. The three main growing states all reported decreases. Western Australia fell by 29% (or 101,000 hectares), New South Wales fell by 11% (or 49,300 hectares) and Victoria fell by 23% (or 44,400 hectares).

Production of oats for grain fell by 36% from the previous year's high, to 1.3 million tonnes in 2004-05. Decreases were reported in all the major growing states with the largest falls reported in Western Australia (down 39% or 291,000 tonnes), Victoria (down 44% or 223,000 tonnes) and New South Wales (down 30% or 181,000 tonnes).

Grain sorghum

The total area of sorghum sown for grain rose by 3% in 2004-05, to 755,000 hectares. An increase of 5% (or 24,200 hectares) in Queensland, the main growing state, was offset by small decreases in the other states.

Grain sorghum production was little changed from the previous year. A 19% increase in production in New South Wales (up by 138,000 tonnes) was offset by a 10% decrease in production in Queensland (down by 133,000 tonnes) and smaller decreases in the other states.

Lupins for grain

The total area planted to lupins for grain fell by 1% to 845,000 hectares. Increased plantings in Western Australia and Victoria were offset by decreases in South Australia and New South Wales. This was the seventh annual decrease in lupin plantings and reflects a longer term trend towards oats and barley. Decreased yields from the previous year saw total production decrease by 21% to 937,000 tonnes. Western Australia was the main producing state, although production was down by 18% to 792,000 tonnes.



Canola plantings increased by 14% to 1.4 million hectares, with increases in all states except South Australia. Less than ideal conditions, however, saw production fall in most states with the total harvest down by 9% to 1.5 million tonnes.

Cotton lint

Increased availability of water for irrigation saw plantings of cotton increase by 34% to 304,000 hectares. Total cotton lint production was up by 78% to 563,000 tonnes.


The area planted to rice remained at low levels, with the area planted in 2004-05 falling by 23% to 51,200 hectares. Cold conditions at a critical stage of plant development reduced yields and saw estimated total production fall by 39% to 339,000 tonnes.




Grape production in 2004-05 equalled the previous year's record of 2.0 million tonnes. The total area of vines increased slightly to 167,000 hectares. Although the bearing area for grapes rose slightly to 153,000 hectares, the area not yet bearing fell marginally to 13,500 hectares.


Orange production increased by 26% to 498,000 tonnes after a significant decline in the previous year. Increases were reported in the three main growing states of New South Wales (up 22% to 221,000 tonnes), South Australia (up 27% to 154,000 tonnes) and Victoria (up 53% to 106,000 tonnes). The number of bearing orange trees reported increased by 9% to 7.4 million trees, with increases in the three main growing states.


Banana production increased by 3% to 266,000 tonnes, with increased production in Queensland partly offset by a fall in New South Wales. The total bearing area of bananas fell by 5% to 10,400 hectares.


The production of apples increased by 26% to 327,000 tonnes in 2004-05. Increases were reported in all states except Western Australia with many producers reporting generally better conditions, compared to the previous 'difficult' season. The number of bearing apple trees increased by 2% to 9.2 million. Increases in bearing tree numbers were reported in all states with the exception of Western Australia and New South Wales.


Pear production increased by 7% to 148,000 tonnes in 2004-05 with increases reported in all states except New South Wales and Western Australia. The number of bearing pear trees increased by 4% from the previous year to 1.4 million. This was mainly due to an increase in tree numbers of 4% in Victoria, which is by far the largest pear growing state with 1.2 million bearing trees (or 80% of the national total).

Production of major fruit crops, Australia - 2002-03 to 2004-05
Graph: Production of major fruit crops, Australia—2002–03 to 2004–05



Production of potatoes in 2004-05 fell by 2% to 1.3 million tonnes. This was due mainly to a 20% decrease in production in Victoria (down to 271,000 tonnes) since all other states, except Tasmania, reported increases. The area planted to potatoes increased by 4% to 37,400 hectares with increases in all states, except Victoria and Tasmania.


Production of tomatoes fell by 14% to 408,000 tonnes. This was largely due to falls in Queensland (down 31% to 85,800 tonnes) and Victoria (down 12% to 237,000 tonnes), but was partly offset by an increase in New South Wales (up 13% to 76,100 tonnes). The area planted to tomatoes was down by 8% to 7,800 hectares, with the main fall in Queensland, which was down by 23% to 2,670 hectares.


Production of carrots increased by 4% to 316,000 tonnes, with increases in all states except South Australia and Western Australia. The area planted to carrots fell by 9% to 6,530 hectares, with falls reported in all states except New South Wales and Victoria.


Production of onions rose by 10% to 256,000 tonnes. Increases in production in South Australia and Tasmania were partly offset by falls in New South Wales and Victoria. The area planted to onions rose by 7% to 5,970 hectares, with increases reported in all states except New South Wales and Victoria.


Production of lettuces rose by 4% to 132,000 tonnes. Increases in Victoria and Queensland were partly offset by falls in all other states. The area planted to lettuces was down by 7% to 5,720 hectares. Falls were reported in all major growing states.

Production of major vegetable crops, Australia - 2002-03 to 2004-05
Graph: Production of major vegetable crops, Australia—2002–03 to 2004–05



Livestock numbers were mostly stable in 2004-05 following some increases post-drought the previous year. Sheep and lamb, milk cattle and pig numbers were little changed from the previous year. Meat cattle and chicken layer numbers increased while meat chicken numbers decreased.

Numbers of livestock, Australia - 2002-03 to 2004-05
Graph: Numbers of livestock, Australia—2002–03 to 2004–05


The number of milk cattle remained steady at 3.1 million head at 30 June 2005. A small increase in milking cow numbers was offset by a decrease in other milk cattle numbers. Some industry re-structuring still seems to be occurring with the Victorian herd increasing its dominance of the industry. Some of the smaller herds further declined.


Meat cattle numbers increased slightly to 24.7 million, indicating the return of overall growth seen in the herd size prior to the worst drought affected years around 2002-03. Increases were seen in all states, except New South Wales which has declined steadily over recent years. Queensland's herd was up by 1% to 11.4 million, making it by far the largest state herd in Australia, and Victoria's herd was up by 6% to 2.5 million. New South Wales' herd was down by 1% to 5.3 million, the smallest herd size recorded in that state for 12 years.


Sheep and lamb numbers were unchanged at 101 million, with a small increase in the number of lambs reported offset by a decrease in reported sheep numbers. Early-season estimates of a small increase in total sheep and lamb numbers did not eventuate, as reports of difficult conditions in some areas of New South Wales saw final numbers drop in that state. Additional falls in sheep and lamb numbers in South Australia and Tasmania offset increases in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.

Lamb markings rose by 3% to 37.2 million, with increases reported in all states except New South Wales, which was down slightly. The number of ewes mated was up by 5%, with increases reported in all states. The lambing percentage was down slightly to 81% (from 83% in 2003-04) with falls in New South Wales (down from 83% to 76%) and South Australia (down from 87% to 84%) partly offset by increases in the other states.


The number of pigs in Australia remained steady at 2.5 million at 30 June 2005. Increases in pig numbers in New South Wales were offset by falls in all other states. New South Wales reported the biggest state herd with 732,000 pigs, followed by Queensland with a herd of 666,000 pigs.


Reported numbers of chickens for meat production fell by 4% to 62.7 million birds, with the largest falls reported in the main growing states of New South Wales and Victoria. The number of chickens reported for egg production increased by 4% to 13.2 million birds, with increases in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland partly offset by falls in the other states. Egg production increased by 5% to 203 million dozen.