Sugarcane production grew by 3% in 2020

Media Release

Production of sugarcane during the 2020 harvest period grew by 3 per cent according to new experimental estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in partnership with Sugar Research Australia, the Australian Sugar Milling Council and the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment (DAWE).

ABS Director of Agricultural Statistical Solutions, Rob Walter, said: “Almost 95% of sugarcane production came from Queensland, with just over 5 per cent coming from New South Wales.”

Mr Walter said the partnership with industry and government has led to the production of more timely and regionally detailed data on sugarcane production, area harvested, and businesses counts.

“Using the levy payers register administrative data reduces the need to collect survey information and lets us tell a more detailed story of sugarcane production around regional towns and cities, which benefits businesses, governments and the industry.”

Sugarcane production in the Cairns Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) region grew by 12 per cent (from 5,626,000 tonnes to 6,305,500 tonnes) between the 2019 and 2020 harvest periods. Production in the Wide Bay SA4 region fell by over 14 per cent (2,238,700 tonnes compared to 2,614,000 tonnes) due to decreased production around Bundaberg.

Estimates show that the Burdekin and Ingham Statistical Area Level 2 regions are the largest sugarcane producers in tonnes produced, area harvested, and number of sugarcane businesses, with Burdekin having 444 sugarcane businesses and Ingham 419.

Mr Walter said there were other benefits to the new data: “The ability to publish maps which show crop information for SA2 regions will provide insights into local areas, for example it will help to understand the impact of a natural disaster on the production of sugarcane and enable support within a specific area.”

“We are working with DAWE and other industries to extend this new approach to improve other agricultural data.”

The ABS thanks all those who contributed data to this release. Further information and statistical methodology are available in Sugarcane, experimental regional estimates using new data sources and methods, 2020-21 financial year.

Media notes

  • The experimental estimates on tonnes of sugarcane harvested have been produced primarily using administrative data sourced from the Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register. This data is collected on behalf of Sugar Research Australia (SRA) by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).
  • The Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register contains details of the quantity of sugarcane delivered to a processing establishment and business address information for all producers during the harvest period. This data was aggregated to produce regional Statistical Area Level 2 statistics, then validated against satellite derived crop maps identifying areas where sugarcane was grown in 2020.
  • Statistical Areas are designed to reflect communities and labour markets. You can find clear depictions of different statistical areas using our ABS Maps tool online.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
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