7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2000-01  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/10/2001   
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October 30, 2001
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Livestock numbers up but crops production was down - first figures from 2001 Agricultural Census

Cattle, sheep and pig numbers all increased during 2000-2001 while most major crops suffered a difficult season, according to the first estimates from the 2001 Agricultural Census, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Meat cattle numbers continued to increase with the herd estimated to be 25.4 million head at 30 June 2001. Increases were reported in all States except Queensland, which fell slightly.

Milk cattle numbers were up to 3.4 million head at 30 June 2001, after recording a fall in the previous year, and now appear to be following the pattern of growth evident over most of the past 10 years.

Sheep and lamb numbers were up slightly, to 120 million at 30 June 2001, but do not show signs of recovering from the significant falls in the early to mid 1990s.

Pig numbers were up by 10 per cent, increasing to 2.8 million head at 30 June 2001. This follows a decrease in 2000 and continues the pattern of ups and downs seen in this industry over recent years.

The production of crops was significantly affected by drought in Western Australia, flood in New South Wales and both flood and drought in some areas of Queensland. This was offset to some extent, by favourable conditions in both South Australia and Victoria. Although increased plantings were recorded for most crops, the prevailing adverse weather conditions saw decreases in production at both State and National levels.

The production of wheat was down by 4 per cent, or nearly 1 million tonnes, from last year's record to 23.8 million tonnes for 2000-2001. This was largely due to the drought in Western Australia which saw production in that State fall by 2.8 million tonnes to 6.2 million tonnes. Other significant falls were recorded in New South Wales and Queensland. In contrast, both South Australia and Victoria experienced favourable growing conditions with a record crop in South Australia and a near-record crop in Victoria.

The production of canola fell by 23 per cent from last year's record to 1.9 million tonnes in 2000-2001, again due to a significant decrease in Western Australia. Production was up in New South Wales which overtook Western Australia as the main canola producing State.

The production of cotton lint, grain sorghum and oats were little changed with decreases in some States being offset by increases in others.

Barley was the only major crop to record a significant increase in production. This follows a series of falls in recent years. Australian production was up by 43 per cent to 7.2 million tonnes in 2000-2001. South Australia was the main barley producing State with a record harvest of 2.5 million tonnes. This was an increase of 77 per cent after a substantial fall in the previous dry year.

Catalogue Reference: Principal Agricultural Commodities Australia (Preliminary) 2000-2001 (cat. no. 7111.0). If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.