4610.0.55.008 - Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2011-12 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/10/2013   
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3 October 2013
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Cotton, vegies and fruit help push production to ten year high

The value of Australia's irrigated agricultural production in 2011-12 hit $13.5 billion, the highest it's been for more than ten years according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Helen Baird from the ABS said, "Consecutive years of good rainfall have seen more water available for agriculture, particularly for pasture, cereals, cotton, sugar cane and rice. Cotton, sugar cane and rice also recorded strong increases in gross value over the previous year."

"The commodities with the highest value in 2011-12 were cotton, vegetables and fruit and together these three accounted for just over half of Australia's gross value of irrigated agricultural production.

Cotton increased by $589 million (or 35%) to $2.2 billion, but this was partly offset by decreases in the value of vegetables and fruit. Vegetables fell by $248 million (or 9%) to $2.6 billion, and fruit fell by $94.3 million (or 4%) to $2.4 billion, due to reduced area irrigated for these crops.

"At state levels, the main increases in the area watered were in the eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland."

"New South Wales reported the largest increase in volume of irrigation, up 781,000 megalitres or more than a quarter up from the previous year, with growers of cotton and rice in particular taking advantage of increased water allocations," said Ms Baird.

The total volume of water applied for irrigation was 8.2 million megalitres, 23% higher than 2010-11. Around 59% of all irrigation water was used to grow three commodities: cotton (2.1 million ML), pasture for grazing (1.6 million ML) and rice (1.1 million ML).

Gross value of irrigated production in the Murray Darling Basin increased by 13% to $6.7 billion and the region produced almost half of Australia's irrigated commodities. Cotton was valued at $2 billion, fruit at $1.2 billion and dairy production, $857 million.

The commodities recording the highest proportion of value for irrigated production in the Murray Darling Basin were rice, grapes and cotton with 100%, 96% and 92% of gross value.

Further details are in Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4610.0.55.008) which is available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).

Media Note: Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.