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Mixed results for agricultural production in 2015-16
Variable regional climatic conditions have proved both a boon and a burden to agricultural production and stocking rates in 2015-16, according to the Agricultural Census data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Data collected from around 104,000 businesses ranging from beef cattle production to broadacre farming and vineyards has produced a picture of Australia’s agricultural sector.
ABS Director of Environment and Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns said while winter and spring rain in parts of New South Wales and Queensland had produced bumper crops in commodities like barley, a warm dry spring in southern Australia saw a decrease in other crops.
“Barley production increased by 6 per cent in 2015-16, driven by New South Wales farmers increasing their planting area with excellent yields,” Ms Binns said.
“But wheat production fell by 5 per cent as a result of hot conditions in late spring in South Australia and Victoria. Similarly, production of canola fell by 21 per cent with reductions in the area planted in Western Australia and poor conditions in South Australia and Victoria.”
To the north, favourable conditions in Queensland and the Northern Territory had contributed to the earlier than anticipated restocking of beef cattle herds.
“Nationally, the national meat cattle herd fell by 1 per cent to 22.3 million, with small falls across most states offset by increases in the NT.
“Dairy herds fell by 2 per cent to approximately 2.7 million, while the sheep flock fell by1 per cent to around 67.5 million.”
Nationally, the number of agricultural businesses increased by 1 per cent to 85,681 in line with a similar increase in the total area of agricultural holdings.
Ms Binns said strong support from the agricultural sector was the foundation of the Agriculture Census – the ABS’ largest business collection - and the ABS greatly appreciated farmers’ time and effort in providing data.
The minimum size for a farming business to be included in the Agricultural Census was increased this year, from those with an average annual turnover of $5000 or more to those with a turnover of $40,000 or more.
This new scope is more in line with other statistical collections and significantly reduced the survey burden on small farming operations.
Further details are available in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (2015-16) (cat. no. 7121.0) available for free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au
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