Canola, experimental regional estimates using new data sources and methods methodology

Latest release
Reference period
2019-20 financial year
Next release Unknown
First release


This publication contains experimental statistics relating to the 2019-20 canola harvest including area, production, business numbers and local value of canola at the Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) geographic level. These experimental estimates are produced using both industry and government data sources.

The experimental canola estimates are presented on the following Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (2016 edition) regions:

  • Australia
  • State
  • Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)
  • Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)

All experimental canola estimates are available in the data cube (Excel.xlsx) attached to this publication.

Data sources

Grains Levy Payer Register

This data is collected on behalf of Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). The Grains Levy Payer Register contains details of the quantity of canola sold or used in commercial production, the farm gate (local) value of the oilseed and business address information for all relevant producers. It is supplied, along with other primary industries data, by DAFF to the ABS as authorised under the Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 for the purpose of the ABS administering the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Any discussion of limitations or weaknesses in the data is in the context of its use by the ABS for statistical purposes and not the adequacy of the data for DAFF purposes.

Legislative requirements to ensure privacy and secrecy of this data have been adhered to. In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905, results have been confidentialised to ensure that they are not likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. The ABS complies with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and the Australian Privacy Principles contained within.

Digital Agriculture Services maps derived from satellite data

Digital Agriculture Services (DAS) produce crop maps using automated methods to identify and classify crops from satellite imagery. Maps are produced for a range of crops including wheat, barley, oats, and canola across Australia. This information is used to create an estimate of the area of canola grown within SA2 areas as well as a calculation of the yield of canola grown within each of those SA2s.

DAS currently focus on identifying crops grown in the wheat belt of Australia - it being the main agricultural region for these crops. Canola grown in Tasmania and south east Victoria was not identified in the DAS data. DAS also noted less confidence in the data for Queensland.

Compilation process

The following steps provide a summary of the method used to create the experimental canola estimates for 2019-20:

1. The DAS canola crop maps for Australia were used to measure the area of canola within each SA2. A small number of SA2s contained very low estimates of canola crop area from the DAS crop maps and had no associated Grains Levy Payer Register data.  These SA2s were excluded from the compilation process. In Tasmania and south-east Victoria, where DAS data was not available, the ABS used a combination of industry and ABS survey information to produce area estimates in these regions.

2. Canola records were extracted from the Grains Levy Payer Register over the period covering the 4th quarter of 2019 through to the 3rd quarter of 2020.  Through consultation with industry this period was considered to best represent production from the 2019-20 financial year. Basic editing was undertaken on the levy payer data to correct issues where the tonnes sold was reported with an incorrect unit, this was identified by comparing with the dollar value.

  • Production statistics were based on the tonnes sold in the levy payer register
  • Local value statistics were based on the dollar value in the levy payer register
  • Business number statistics were based on unique levy payers in the levy payer register

3. Canola records in the Grains Levy Payer Register were matched to business address information held by the ABS where possible, this provided additional address detail, for example in cases where the Levy data only had a P.O. box.

4. An SA2 code was initially allocated assigned to each levy record using the ABS held business address. If the assigned SA2 did not fall within a canola producing region, identified by the DAS crop mapping data, the address information from the Levy Payer Register was used.

5. For 2.1% of canola records in the Grains Levy Payer Register the assigned location was not within an SA2 where canola was grown based on the crop mapping. The levy production (tonnes), value (dollars), and business number data from records outside of canola growing areas were summed and redistributed across SA2s where canola was grown. The way this was done depended on the location of the original SA2 assigned using an address: 

  • If the assigned SA2 was within a canola growing SA4, then these records were redistributed across all canola growing SA2s within the SA4. This impacted 0.9% of levy records and 0.7% of the production total.
  • If the assigned SA2s were not within a canola growing SA4, but were within a canola growing State, then they were redistributed across all canola growing SA2s within that State. This impacted 1.1% of levy records and 0.6% of the production total.
  • Finally, any assigned SA2s that could not reasonably be allocated within a State were redistributed across all canola growing SA2s within Australia. This impacted 0.1% of levy records and 1.3% of the production total.

The redistribution was based on the area of canola within each SA2. For example, if an SA2 contained 1% of the total canola growing area in the SA4 region, it would receive 1% of the unallocated Levy Payer production of canola. This same process was used to redistribute the production value and business numbers associated with those levy records.

6. A small number of canola records in the Grains Levy Payer Register produced very large volumes of canola that related to an area broader than just the SA2 they were assigned to. These records were identified by comparing tonnes of canola produced with the area of canola growing within the SA2. SA2s with a yield of greater than 4 tonnes per hectare were identified as having canola that was grown across multiple SA2s. The production, value, and business numbers from these records were iteratively redistributed across SA2s within the SA4 region where canola was grown until a target yield was satisfied. The target yield of below 4 tonnes per hectare was determined through industry consultation. This process impacted 1.1% of levy records and 2.2% of the production amount as shown in the table summarising redistribution below.

7. SA2 counts of businesses producing canola were adjusted to align with totals reported in the canola Levy Payer Register once production amount, area and value estimates were finalised. This ensures that business numbers were not inflated through rounding in the redistribution process described in Step 6.

8. SA2 production amount (tonnes), production value (dollars), production area (hectares) and business number estimates were summed to SA4s and validated against SA4 regions reported in the 2019-20 ABS Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey (published in Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2019-20) to assist in understanding the accuracy of this experimental method.

Scope and coverage

These experimental estimates for Canola production (amount, local value, area and number of businesses) are based on canola levy information reported through the Grains Levy Payer Register. Estimates relate to canola produced for commercial purposes and exclude canola produced for domestic purposes. This includes very small production amounts which are not leviable (where the total levy payable is less than $25 a year).

The oilseeds levy rate is calculated as a percentage of the sale value – that is, the price or amount paid for the oilseeds (including any oil bonus quality premium adjustment) net of GST handling, storage, transport and free on board (FOB) costs. This may also be known as farm gate value. For more information see Oilseeds Levy, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The data presented in this publication was extracted from the Grains Levy Payer Register in February 2022.

The satellite imagery derived crop maps provide an estimate of the actively growing canola area, and so may differ slightly from the area that is eventually harvested.

Rounding, confidentiality and accuracy

Production, area and value statistics have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

Business number statistics have been rounded to the nearest 5 to help avoid identification of individual businesses.

The spatial redistribution method used in producing the experimental canola estimates means that it is unlikely individual Grains Levy Payer Register records could be identified. ABS confidentiality rules were used to identify any SA2s where it might be possible to identify an individual record. As a result of this a very small number of records were further redistributed to ensure privacy of individual levy payer records. This impacted 0.2% of levy records and 0.9% of the canola production.

These are experimental estimates and although they are consistent with other published data at the national and regional level, should be used with caution. This is particularly the case for SA2s with small production amounts as the smaller totals are likely to be disproportionately dependent on the data redistribution processes described above to create and confidentialise estimates.

Levy Payer RedistributionProportion of Levy Payer recordsProportion of total canola production
Records not redistributed96.794.4
Redistributed to meet acceptable yield constraints1.12.2
Redistributed to meet confidentiality constraints0.20.9
Redistributed across canola growing SA2s in the SA40.90.7
Redistributed across canola growing SA2s in the state1.10.6
Redistributed across canola growing SA2s in Australia0.11.3

Due to rounding components may not total to 100%

Related publications

ABS agricultural commodity (including canola) area, production, and value statistics, sourced from the Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey and Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced collections for 2019-20, are available in:

Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2019-20

Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2019-20

This publication builds on previously published work to create experimental sugarcane statistics and an initial evaluation of Grains Levy Payer Register data for producing statistics:

Sugarcane, experimental regional estimates using new data sources and methods

Grain production and value: experimental analysis using administrative data

ABS publications can be accessed under the Statistics page on the ABS website. The ABS also issue a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

ABS data available on request

For inquiries about these and related statistics, contact the Customer Assistance Service via the ABS website Contact Us page.

General acknowledgement

ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.

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