7121.0 - Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 1997-98  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/07/1999   
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  • Production of Australian wine grapes reaches record levels (Media Release)


July 13, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Production of Australian wine grapes reaches record levels

Final Agricultural Commodity Survey estimates for the year 1997/98, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showed that while production of a number of major agricultural commodities had decreased during the year, production and plantings of grapes, particularly wine grapes, had increased to record levels.

The ABS figures show that the national grape harvest reached a record level of 1.1 million tonnes in 1997/98, an increase of 18% on the previous year and a 2% increase on the previous high recorded in 1995/96. Production of wine grapes increased by 17% to 871,000 tonnes.

Following record harvests in 1996/97, wheat production fell by 16% to an estimated 19.2 million tonnes. Barley production also decreased by 3% to 6.5 million tonnes. The Australian oats harvest of 1.6 million tonnes showed little change from the previous year.
    The estimated total area of wheat sown for grain in 1997/98 decreased by 5% to 10.4 million hectares. Western Australia continued to have the largest area planted to wheat (40% of the total area planted), and accounted for 40% of Australia's total production. The national wheat yield in 1997/98 was 1.8 tonnes per hectare, a decrease of 14% on the previous year's yield of 2.1 tonnes per hectare.

    Despite an increase in the area sown to barley for grain (up 5% to 3.5 million hectares) production fell 3% to 6.5 million tonnes. This reflected a fall in the barley yield from 2.0 tonnes per hectare in 1996/97 to 1.8 tonnes per hectare in 1997/98. South Australia and Western Australia together accounted for 61% of the nation's production. The oats yield rose slightly from 1.6 tonnes per hectare in 1996/97 to 1.7 tonnes per hectare in 1997/98, but a fall in the area sown (down 11% to 937,000 hectares) saw production little changed.

    The Australian dairy herd, an estimated 3.1 million head at 31 March 1998, was up 4% from the previous year. Victoria recorded the nation's largest dairy herd of 1.8 million. The estimated beef cattle herd of 23.8 million head was similar to the previous year with Queensland accounting for 44% of the national total (10.5 million head).

    The sheep and lamb flock showed an estimated 2% decrease in numbers, falling to 117 million, the lowest number since 1952. New South Wales, while showing a 4% decrease in sheep and lamb numbers, accounted for 35% of the Australian flock.

    Details are available in Agricultural Commodities 1997-98 (cat. no. 7121.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication may be found on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the summary. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.