7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2012-13 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/11/2013   
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15 November 2013
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Canola production at record levels, but pigs in decline

Australian canola production increased to record levels in 2012-13, according to preliminary estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

"The 2012-13 canola harvest has been the largest on record at four million tonnes, up 17 per cent on the previous record set in 2011-12," according to Helen Baird from the ABS.

Increased canola production was reported in every state except Queensland, with the largest increases in Victoria (up 34 per cent) and New South Wales (up 22 per cent).

Western Australian canola production showed the largest increase, up one-third reaching 1.3 million tonnes. The area planted to canola increased by 30 per cent to 3.2 million hectares nationally, with NSW and Victoria up 29 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.

Following the poor Western Australian wheat harvest, WA drove much of the increase in area planted to canola, with 1.2 million hectares planted - 318,000 hectares more than the previous year.

After a record harvest the previous year, the 2012-13 wheat crop was estimated to be 22.5 million tonnes, down 25 per cent.

Western Australia, the main wheat growing state, experienced dry growing conditions, reporting the largest decrease in production among the states and territories, dropping by 40 per cent (or 4.4 million tonnes) to a total of 4.9 million tonnes.

Cotton recorded a bumper crop, with production only slightly down on the previous year. Cotton lint production fell by eight per cent to 898,000 tonnes and there were above average yields due to favourable conditions.

Other key crop movements included barley, with production down nine per cent and area planted down three per cent; grain sorghum, both production and area planted down 10 percent; and oats, with production down 12 per cent and area planted down four per cent.

"In terms of livestock numbers, dairy cattle have risen six per cent over the previous year to 2.9 million head, with numbers up in all states.

"Meat cattle numbers are estimated to be 25.5 million head, dropping one per cent on the previous year with declines in New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory partly offset by increased numbers in most of the other states," Ms Baird said.

Sheep and lamb numbers increased slightly, up 924,000 head to 75.6 million, while the number of lambs marked in 2012-13 fell 11 per cent (or four million lambs) over the previous year to 31.5 million.

Pig numbers continue to decline on previous years estimates, with the total number of pigs at 30 June 2013 falling to its lowest number since 1967, down by seven per cent over the previous year to two million.

Preliminary figures from the Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey 2012-13 are released down to the state/territory level. The final estimates will be released in 2014, including additional data cubes for regional geographies and Natural Resource Management regions.

Further details are in Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia (Preliminary) 2010-11 (cat. no. 7111.0) which is available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).