1997 agricultural census underway (TAS) , Mar 1997

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

1997 agricultural census underway (TAS)

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 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 1997.

Information from last year's census showed, for example, that Tasmanian farmers produced 302 thousand tonnes of potatoes, about 23 per cent of Australia's production in 1995-96. Last year's Agricultural Census also showed that Tasmanian farms produced 91 thousand tonnes of onions (over a third of Australia's total crop).

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 Tasmania to the year ended 31 March 1996 (i.e. the results of last year's Agricultural Census).


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


    Potatoes ('000 tonnes)
    Onions ('000 tonnes)
    Carrots ('000 tonnes)
    Beans, french and runner ('000 tonnes)
    Apples ('000 tonnes)


    Beef cattle (thousand)
    Dairy cattle (thousand)
    Sheep and lambs (million)