7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2005-06  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/05/2007   
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May 17, 2007
Embargoed 11.30 am (AEST)
ABS releases first estimates from 2005-06 Agricultural Census

The first estimates for major broadacre crops and livestock categories from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census were released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Key findings from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census

    • Sheep and lamb numbers were reported as 91.9 million head at 30 June 2006, an approximate decrease of 10% on 2005 numbers, with farmers reporting significant destocking during the year including on-farm deaths. This is the lowest estimate reported since 1925.
    • Meat cattle were reported as 25.7 million head - the largest estimate since 1978.
    • Milk cattle numbers were reported as 2.8 million head, an approximate decrease of 9% on 2004-05 numbers.
    • Pig numbers were 2.7 million head and are in line with the increased production reported by industry.
    • Wheat production was 25.4 million tonnes, an approximate increase of 14% and only slightly below the record 2004 crop of 26.1 million tonnes, with mild winter conditions and good rains at critical times in some areas.
    • Barley production was 9.6 million tonnes, an approximate increase of 22%, but was below the record 2004 crop of 10.4 million tonnes.
    • Sugar cane for crushing production was 38.2 million tonnes, little change from 2004-05.
    • Rice production almost trebled to 973,000 tonnes, reflecting increased plantings due to water availability and favourable growing conditions.
    • Cotton lint production was 576,000 tonnes, reflecting improved coverage of smaller cotton businesses in the Agricultural Census.

The Agricultural Census is the second largest statistical collection undertaken by the ABS and the 2005-06 Agricultural Census collected data from approximately 155,000 agricultural businesses recorded on the Australian Taxation Office's Australian Business Register (ABR).

The adoption of the ABR is intended to provide better coverage of agricultural businesses and a more accurate picture of agricultural activity in Australia. However, this has made it difficult to provide an exact measure of the change between 2004-05 and 2005-06 and therefore changes should be considered indicative only.

Further details are in Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia (Preliminary) 2005-06 (cat. no. 7111.0).