7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2014-15 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/2015   
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18 December 2015
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Summer rainfall leads to a bumper sorghum crop

Sorghum production increased 70 per cent across the 2014-15 harvest to an estimated 2.2 million tonnes compared to the 1.3 million tonnes in 2013-14, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This increase was predominately driven by average to above average rainfall in December 2014 and January 2015, allowing more crops to be planted in sorghum growing areas.

“The total area of sorghum in Australia increased by 37 per cent in 2014-15 to 730,000 hectares, up from 532,000 in 2013-14, resulting in record high areas of sorghum,” said Katie Hutt, Director of Rural Environment and Agriculture Statistics at the ABS.

“ABS export data reflects the increase in production with a higher demand from China, which accounted for the majority of Australian sorghum exports in 2014-15,” said Ms Hutt.

Comparatively, Australian wheat crop production is estimated to have decreased 9 per cent to 23 million tonnes when compared to the 2013-14 harvest.

Wheat production was estimated to have fallen in Western Australia with frost and hail damage contributing to the decrease. Wheat production was also estimated to have fallen in New South Wales due to a dry finish across most of the state, adversely affecting yields,” said Ms Hutt.

The ongoing drought in many regions of Australia and strong international demand for livestock products have contributed to a reduction in numbers on many livestock holdings during 2014-15, with:

  • the overall meat cattle herd size decreasing by 7.4 per cent to 24.3 million head;
  • Queensland being the main contributor to this decrease with a 13 per cent drop in numbers; and
  • the total sheep flock down 3.7 per cent to 69.9 million head, with decreases reported across all major states except South Australia.

Preliminary data from the 2014-15 Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey are released at national, state and territory level. Final data will be released in mid-2016.

Further information can be found in Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary (cat. no. 7111.0).

Media Note:

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.