Australian Wheat Yield Survey

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The Australian Wheat Yield Collection was intended to be run on behalf of the Australian Wheat Board Limited (AWB Ltd)

    Frequency: Once only.

    Scope: The Australian Wheat Yield Survey was intended to be sent to all businesses on the Australian Business Register that have an Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) above $5000, with the sample concentrated in the target wheat-growing Statistical Local Areas (SLA).

    Statistical Unit: Data would have been collected at the establishment level.

    Major Commoditiy Categories: Area Sown for crop and Total Production.

    The main purpose of the survey was to collect information supplementary to that of the Agricultural Survey on behalf of the Australian Wheat Board Limited for the following reasons;

    Australian Wheat Board Limited (AWB) is a major grain marketer and purchaser of grain, however, one of the biggest issues that AWB has in getting growers to forward contract (i.e. grower locks in a price during the season in exchange for a commitment to deliver a fixed tonnage of wheat) is overcoming their attitude to production risk i.e. they are unwilling to commit to delivering grain that they have not yet grown because of uncertainty associated with the forthcoming season.

    In the past if a grower contracts and commits to deliver tonnage but cannot deliver later in the season, the movement in the market price between signing and delivery is the cost of the washout or the cost of defaulting on the contract. Over the last 5 years the average washout cost payable by the grower has been between $15 to $25 per tonne. This is payable at a time when growers’ working capital is traditionally at its lowest point (has invested money into growing the crops; fertiliser, chemicals, fuel, labour etc.).
    A product called Washout Protection is being worked on that will allow growers to lock in a forward contract and enable them to manage both the yield and price risk simultaneously.
    The advantages to growers of Washout Protection would be:

      Manage production and price risk simultaneously
      Avoid washout penalties when short of cash
      Greater window to obtain good prices (lock in a price that they find attractive without having their crop fully established, and production outcome certain).
    Washout Protection would operate with a tonnage limit applying to each grower . A grower would be able to contract up to 35% of his total production with Washout Protection against forward contracts. Total production would be determined by multiplying average yield by wheat croppable area for the season (this would be subject to assessment).
    For a “fee” AWB would not ask the grower to pay the washout penalty if the grower is unable to deliver, however, the Washout Protection premium must be paid regardless of whether grower delivers or not.
    The premium would be weighted according to the risk weighting (yield variability within the region), and the premium would be deducted from the growers’ payments upon delivery.
    The Australian Wheat Yield Survey will determine the risk weighting for the AWB.
    To avoid the complications associated with claims management at SD level, AWB would like to commission the ABS to collect enough yield data by SLA each year for wheat ONLY, so that it is sufficient to provide accurate representations of average yield within those SLA’s for wheat crops in order to operate a Washout Protection product for growers.

    The Australian Wheat Yield Survey was intended to be sent to all businesses on the Australian Business Register that have an Estimated Value of Agricultural Operations (EVAO) above $5000, with the sample concentrated in the target wheat-growing Statistical Local Areas (SLA).

    Over coverage is a known frame deficiency of the new Australian Business Register (ABR). Approximately 20-30% of units on the frame are expected to be out-of-scope because they are not conducting agricultural activity (as defined by the ABS). Duplication of units is expected on the ABR based frame. This register will (in 2003) be a combination of the ABS Inteframe and Australian Tax Office (ATO) maintained businesses.

    These figures are based on the current Coverage Survey frame of 203,000 units. These issues are currently being addressed. The number of duplicates and out-of-scopes will be reduced before finalising the frame prior to selection.


    Conceptual framework
    Data was intended to be collected from establishments that grow wheat and whose predominant activity is agriculture.

    An agricultural establishment is an establishment which is engaged mainly in agricultural activities (i.e. classified to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) Sub-Division 0 - Agriculture.

    An establishment with agricultural activity is usually a single physical location which is used for the production of crops (including fruit and vegetables) and/or for the raising of livestock and the production of livestock products.

    The survey intended to collect area and production for wheat from which the average yield (production / area) is then derived.

    Main outputs
    Note that area and production of wheat will have been collected in the 2002-03 Agricultural Survey (AS). However, the AS produces reliable yields only at the Statistical Division (SD) level. Intra-SD variability is too high for this output to be used for the purposes of the AWB Ltd.

    The Australian Wheat Yield Survey (AWYS) would have produced wheat yield figures at the Statistical Local Area (SLA) level, thus allowing AWB Ltd to achieve its "Washout Protection" objectives. Relative Standard Errors (RSE) of about 2.5% are required to do this. This could have been achieved with a sample of about 24,000.

    Because some of these units would have been selected in the AS, there would have been no need to dispatch to these. Thus the 24,000 units would havel been made up of about 8,000 units selected in the AS and about 16,000 units in the AWYS. The collection costs associated with the 16,000 would have been met by the AWB Ltd.

    The information that AWB Ltd would need ABS to provide on the Statistical Local Areas that it requires are:

      • Population surveyed within each SLA.
      • Percentage of SLA population surveyed
      • Area sown to wheat in 2002-03
      • Wheat Tonnages produced in 2002-03
      • Yield.

      a. Geography.
        • The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) is the main geographic classification used.
        • Data is available at the State, Statistical Division and the Statistical Local Area levels.

      b. Industry
        • The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) is the only classification used.

      c. Commodities
        • Each commodity is given a unique Commodity Code Number (CCN).
        • Most commodities will have the same CCN which allows for comparison over time.
        • Not all commodities will be collected each year, leading to gaps in historical series.
        • There are some similar commodities, with different CCN's, which may make analysis confusing in historical series.
      Other concepts (summary)
      Not Applicable

      New South Wales
      South Australia
      Western Australia
      Northern Territory
      Statistical Division
      Statistical Local Area

      Comments and/or Other Regions
      Not Applicable

      Once Only

      Frequency comments
      Was intended to be a once only. Possibly repeating in Agricultural Survey years.

      Not Applicable


      Data availability comments
      Survey not conducted.

      08/11/2004 08:40 AM