7111.0 - Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia, Preliminary, 2009-10  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/11/2010   
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11 November 2010
Embargo: 11.30 am (AEDT)


Sheep flock sizes at lowest levels in 100 years

Australia's sheep flock continued to decline in 2009-10 and is now at its lowest level in over a century, according to preliminary estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today. Estimates also reveal that despite periods of unfavourable weather in some regions, recovery in production has continued for a range of major broadacre crops during the previous season.

Production for many broadacre crops, including wheat, oats, cotton and canola increased slightly compared to 2008-09. While remaining at historically low levels, rice production is up on recent years, more than doubling since the last season.

Sheep numbers (including lambs) are at their lowest level since 1905, continuing the trend of last season. Despite herd rebuilding in some regions, both milk and meat cattle numbers also decreased, by 5% and 4% respectively. Pig numbers remained relatively steady.

Data highlights:

  • Wheat production rose 2%, compared to 2008-09, to 22.0 million tonnes
  • Production of barley for grain fell by 1% to 7.9 million tonnes
  • Cotton production increased by 22% to 376,000 tonnes
  • Rice production was 198,000 tonnes, over double the production for 2008-09, but still less than one-fifth of production in 1999-2000

  • Milk cattle numbers decreased by 5%, compared to 2008-09, to 2.5 million head
  • Meat cattle decreased by 4% to 24.3 million head
  • Sheep and lamb numbers fell to 67.7 million head, a fall of 7% from 2008-09 and the lowest flock size 1905

Further details are in Principal Agricultural Commodities, Australia (Preliminary) 2009-10 (cat. no. 7111.0).

Media notes:
  • Additional related data will be released in April 2011 in Agricultural Commodities, Australia (cat. no. 7121.0) and in June 2011 in Land Management and Farming in Australia (cat. no. 6427.0).
  • The Agricultural Census will be run in 2011. The information collected from the farming community via the Census will play a vital role in supporting the development and monitoring of Australia's agricultural, natural resource and water policies. Find out more.
  • Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.