7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/11/2005   
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This publication contains preliminary estimates of principal agricultural commodities and livestock numbers for the 2004-05 season and comparative data for earlier years. The data are based on a response rate of 70% of farms contributing to estimates from the 2005 Agricultural Survey. More comprehensive and updated estimates for the 2004-05 season will be published in June 2006 in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0).



For 2004-05, harvests for many of the principal crops fell from the previous year's highs despite increased plantings, with dry conditions reported in many areas during the 2004 winter months. Meat cattle and sheep numbers increased slightly, while milk cattle numbers fell slightly and pig numbers remained steady.


Preliminary 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 for crushing and rice.

The total area sown to wheat for grain rose by 5% in 2004-05, to 13.8 million hectares. Increases were reported in the three main growing states, with New South Wales up by 10% (or 387,000 hectares), Western Australia up by 6% (or 271,000 hectares) and South Australia up by 6% (or 108,000 hectares).

The total area sown to barley for grain increased by 3% in 2004-05, to 4.6 million hectares. The largest increases were reported in South Australia (up 7% or 88,100 hectares), New South Wales (up 5% or 49,400 hectares) and Victoria (up 4% or 35,800 hectares).

The total area of sorghum sown for grain rose by 9% in 2004-05, to 803,000 hectares. In Queensland, the main growing state, the area sown increased by 9% (or 45,400 hectares), while in New South Wales it increased by 12% (or 25,200 hectares).

The total area sown to oats for grain fell by 18% in 2004-05, to 892,000 hectares. The three main growing states all reported decreases. Western Australia fell by 28% (or 95,000 hectares), Victoria fell by 25% (or 49,100 hectares) and New South Wales fell by 9% (or 41,600 hectares).

In 2004-05, the total area sown to canola rose by 12% to 1.4 million hectares, the area planted to sugar cane for crushing fell slightly to 441,000 hectares, and the area planted to cotton rose by 36% to 309,000 hectares. The area sown to lupins for grain fell slightly, to 839,000 hectares, and the area sown to rice fell by 28% to 48,100 hectares.

Graph: Area of principal crops, Australia, 1995 to 2005


Preliminary estimates for 2004-05 show decreased production for all major crops, except grain sorghum, sugar cane cut for crushing and cotton lint. 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.

The production of wheat for grain fell by 13% in 2004-05, to 22.6 million tonnes. Decreases were reported in Western Australia (down 21% or 2.3 million tonnes), Victoria (down 38% or 1.2 million tonnes) and South Australia (down 23% or 803,000 tonnes). New South Wales reported increased wheat production, up by 8% or 547,000 tonnes.

Production of barley for grain fell by 26% in 2004-05, to 7.7 million tonnes. All states, except Tasmania, reported decreased production compared with the previous year. The largest falls were reported in Victoria (down 44% or 999,000 tonnes), Western Australia (down 22% or 692,000 tonnes) and South Australia (down 25% or 673,000 tonnes).

Grain sorghum production rose by 8% in 2004-05, to 2.2 million tonnes. A 34% increase in production in New South Wales (up by 241,000 tonnes) was partly offset by a 5% (or 70,200 tonnes) decrease in production in Queensland, the major growing state.

Production of oats for grain fell by 35% in 2004-05, to 1.3 million tonnes. Decreases were reported in all the major growing states with the largest falls reported in Western Australia (down 37% or 280,000 tonnes), Victoria (down 45% or 229,000 tonnes) and New South Wales (down 23% or 138,000 tonnes).

In 2004-05, canola production fell by 12% to 1.5 million tonnes, lupins for grain production fell by 20% to 948,000 tonnes and rice production fell by 42% to 323,000 tonnes. In contrast, the production of sugar cane cut for crushing increased by 4% to 38.6 million tonnes, while the production of cotton lint rose by 57% to 497,000 tonnes.

Graph: Production of principal crops; Australia, 1995 to 2005


Milk cattle

Preliminary estimates indicate that the number of milk cattle in Australia was 3.0 million head at 30 June 2005, down slightly 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 Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, while Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania remained steady.

Graph: Number of milk cattle, Australia, 1995 to 2005

Meat cattle

Preliminary estimates indicate the number of meat cattle in Australia increased slightly to 24.7 million head at 30 June 2005. The largest increases were reported in Queensland (up 2% or 266,000 head) and Victoria (up 5% or 115,000 head), while New South Wales was little changed.

Graph: Numnber of meat cattle, Australia, 1995 to 2005

Sheep and lambs

Preliminary estimates indicate the number of sheep and lambs in Australia rose slightly to 103 million head at 30 June 2005. Increases were reported in Western Australia (up 4% or 1.1 million head), Victoria (up 3% or 547,000 head) and New South Wales (up slightly by 343,000 head), while in South Australia numbers fell by 4% or 532,000 head.

The number of lambs marked rose by 4% to 37.7 million in 2004-05.

Graph: Number of sheep and lambs, Australia, 1995 to 2005


Preliminary estimates indicate the number of pigs in Australia remained steady at 2.5 million at 30 June 2005. Increases in pig numbers in New South Wales and Queensland were offset by falls in South Australia and Western Australia, while Victoria was little changed.

Graph: Number of pigs, Australia, 1995 to 2005