1997 agricultural census underway (SA), Mar 1997

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March 20, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

1997 agricultural census underway (SA)

The 1997 Agricultural Census, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, began this week with the mailout of 150,000 forms to Australia's primary producers.

Statistics from the annual Agricultural Census provide an updated picture of the performance and production levels of Australia's rural industries.

Information obtained is used to formulate rural policies at the national, State and local levels. The data also provides the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of existing agricultural programs, and measure changes in production of various commodities.

Questions in the Agricultural Census have been developed in consultation with primary producer and rural industry organizations, government agencies and research groups, to highlight the role of farmers in the Australian economy.

New questions this year ask details of quantity of water used for irrigation and the total number of sheep and lambs shorn and wool produced.

Regular information from the census includes the assessment of land use, stock numbers and quantities produced for a large range of agricultural crops, fruits and vegetables for the 12 months to 31 March 1996.

Information from last year's census showed, for example, that South Australia had 13.6 million sheep (about 11% of Australia's sheep population in 1995-1996). The State harvested 395.8 thousand tonnes of wine grapes during 1995-96, just over 50 per cent of Australia's total.

Farmers are asked to return their completed forms within two weeks, to give the ABS time to collate preliminary figures for release in May. These early figures are essential for Commonwealth and State Government planning, and are used extensively by industry organizations as input to policy discussions.

Most of the required information will be in existing farm records. However, ABS officers are available to assist farmers in completing the forms. As with all ABS surveys, no government or private organization will have access to the individual information supplied by primary producers.

For Editors

Listed below are the figures for the main crops and stock production in South Australia to year ended 31 March 1996 (i.e. the results of last year's Agricultural Census).


    Wheat for grain ('000 tonnes)
    Barley for grain ('000 tonnes)
    Oats for grain ('000 tonnes)


    Wine grapes ('000 tonnes)


    Sheep and lambs (million)
    Meat cattle (thousand)
    Pigs (thousand)
    Dairy cattle (thousand)

Fruit and Vegetables

    Potatoes ('000 tonnes)
    Oranges ('000 tonnes)
    Apples ('000 tonnes)