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Livestock and Meat, Australia methodology

Reference period
March 2020
Released
8/05/2020

Explanatory notes

Introduction

1 This publication presents statistics on livestock slaughterings and meat production. These statistics are based on a monthly collection from abattoirs and other major slaughtering establishments and include estimates of animals slaughtered by country butchers and other small slaughtering establishments. More detailed information on this series can be obtained by referring to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly publication, Livestock Products, Australia (cat. no. 7215.0).

2 From July 2010, on-farm slaughter was no longer included in estimates of livestock slaughterings or meat production. Historical data back to July 2007 were revised for all series and calf and pig definitions were aligned to current industry standards. In July 2019 the industry definition for lamb was revised.

3 Coverage is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure all in-scope units are captured on the collection frame. These regular reviews ensure the ongoing quality of estimates produced from this collection.

4 Frame updates resulting from the coverage review process are incorporated as soon as practicable into the estimates of livestock slaughter and meat production included in this and the related publication, Livestock Products, Australia (cat. no. 7215.0).

5 Changes to coverage typically have a minor impact on estimates and on comparability of data over time.

6 For the January 2020 reference period, a small number of units in bushfire impacted areas were excluded from collection activities. An adjustment was applied to address the change in coverage; resulting in a small impact on national level estimates. The adjustment applied to the January 2020 reference period only.

7 Further information on the coverage review process and related impacts can be obtained by contacting the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070 (or +61 2 9268 4909 for international callers).

8 Red meat is shown in carcass weight and excludes offal.

9 Care should be taken when using this information as the figures only relate to slaughterings for human consumption and do not include animals condemned, slaughtered for pet food or those killed for boiling down.

10 The figures in this publication have been rounded. As a result, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Seasonal adjustment

11 Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation from the series so that the effects of other influences can be more clearly recognised.

12 In the seasonal adjustment of the livestock estimates, account has been taken of both normal seasonal factors and ‘trading day’ effects, where significant. Seasonal adjustment does not remove from the series the effect of irregular influences (e.g. abnormal weather, industrial disputes).

13 In this publication, the seasonally adjusted estimates are produced by the concurrent seasonal adjustment method which takes account of the latest available original estimates. This method improves the estimation of seasonal factors and, therefore, the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the current and previous months. As a result of this improvement, revisions to the seasonally adjusted and trend estimates will be observed for recent periods. A more detailed review is conducted annually.

14 For further information, see Time Series Analysis Frequently Asked Questions (cat. no. 1346.0.55.002).

15 From September 2007, improved methods of producing seasonally adjusted estimates were implemented, focused on the application of Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) modelling techniques. The ARIMA modelling technique can be used to extend original estimates beyond the end of a time series.

16 For further information on ARIMA modelling, see the feature article 'Use of ARIMA modelling to reduce revisions' in Australian Economic Indicators, Oct 2004 (cat. no. 1350.0).

Trend estimates

17 A trend estimate is obtained by reducing the irregular component from the seasonally adjusted series. For monthly data, trend estimates are derived by applying a 13-term Henderson moving average to the seasonally adjusted series. Revisions of trend estimates will occur with revisions to the original data and re-estimation of seasonal factors.

18 As for the seasonally adjusted state components, the state component trend estimates have been produced independently and therefore may not add up to the Australian group totals.

19 For further information, see Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series - Monitoring Trends. (cat. no. 1349.0).

20 Trend estimates have been suspended from this publication in March 2020. The trend series attempt to measure underlying changes in livestock slaughters and meat produced. In the short term, this measurement may be affected by changes to regular patterns in livestock slaughter and meat production arising from COVID-19 restrictions, as well as changes in overall environmental conditions. Without fully accounting for these factors, trend estimates would likely present a misleading view of underlying changes in slaughters and meat production. The trend estimates will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend series and can be accurately produced. The latest published trend estimates, prior to suspension of the series, are available in Livestock and Meat Australia, Feb 2020 (cat. no. 7218.0.55.001).

Revisions

21 Revisions to previously published original series statistics are included in the publication as they occur.

22 As a result of the Intensive Follow Up (IFU) process, data are revised each month as final estimates become available. Most respondents are able to report all the data requested directly from company records, but in some cases not all information is available at the time of request, so estimates are provided. When more accurate information becomes available previous published original series statistics will be revised.

Related publications

23 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed under the Statistics page on the ABS website. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the website which details products to be released in the week ahead.

24 Other ABS publications containing livestock data include:

General acknowledgment

    25 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.

    Quality declaration

    Institutional environment

    For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

    Relevance

    The statistics on slaughtering and meat production for human consumption are based on a monthly collection from abattoirs and other major slaughtering establishments and include estimates of animals slaughtered by country butchers and other small slaughtering establishments. The data are collected on a state basis and then aggregated to derive Australian totals.

    Data are mainly used to monitor the meat production levels by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), state departments of primary industries, Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Pork Limited, and other research and industry organisations. The data are also used as input to the calculation of the value of agricultural commodities produced and the Australian National Accounts.

    Timeliness

    Livestock slaughtering and meat produced are published five weeks after the reference period in the monthly Livestock and Meat, Australia (cat. no. 7218.0.55.001) and six weeks after the reference period in the quarterly Livestock Products, Australia (cat. no. 7215.0).

    Accuracy

    As a result of the Intensive Follow Up (IFU) process, data are revised each month as final estimates become available. Most respondents are able to report all the data requested directly from company records, but in some cases not all information is available, so estimates are provided. For example, some small abattoirs do not record the weight of the individual animals. An estimate of the amount of meat produced is derived by multiplying the number of animals slaughtered by an average weight provided or by a predetermined average. As some smaller abattoirs provide aggregate data only, e.g. for cattle slaughtering, an estimate is required to split the data between the appropriate categories.

    A minimum response rate of at least 96% is generally achieved for the monthly livestock slaughtering collection.

    Coherence

    Most data are directly comparable over different collection cycles.

    From July 1997 onwards, the category of Bulls, Bullocks and Steers was separated into two separate categories of Bulls and Bullocks and Steers. This finer breakdown of Bulls, Bullocks and Steers was implemented to provide more accurate disposal prices for the cattle item, particularly for breeding stock.

    From September 2004, the categories Baconers, Porkers, and Other Pigs were expanded to include a separate category for Breeding Sows. The additional category was added at the request of the industry body, Australian Pork Limited.

    From July 2010, a decision was made to exclude on-farm slaughter from estimates of livestock slaughter and meat production. This decision was made in consultation with key users and reflected concerns around current and future capacity to reliably estimate on-farm slaughtering. In addition, revised definitions, aligned to current industry standards, were adopted for the categories Calves, Baconers and Porkers. Re-based historical estimates to July 2007 for all series were published in the July 2010 issue of Livestock and Meat, Australia (cat. no. 7218.0.55.001).

    Interpretability

    The survey provides a broad range of up-to-date data about the processing of livestock and production of meat in Australia through a suite of standard products or as data customised for individual requirements. Detailed explanatory notes are provided each quarter in Livestock Products, Australia (cat. no. 7215.0) to assist users in determining and specifying their data requirements and to understand the concepts underlying the data.

    Statistics are provided in trend, seasonally adjusted and original terms. The trend series smooths out the volatility in the data including removing seasonal effects (such as the number of trading days and moving holidays), and is therefore considered the best indicator of underlying movements. The seasonally adjusted series removes the seasonal effects but does not smooth out the volatility in the data. The original series neither removes the seasonal effects nor smooths out the volatility in the data. To find out more information on seasonal adjustment and trend estimator please see Time Series Analysis Frequently Asked Questions (cat. no. 1346.0.55.002).

    Accessibility

    An extensive range of data are available from the monthly livestock collection.

    If the information you require is not available as a standard product or service, then ABS Consultancy Services can help you with customised services to suit your needs. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

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

    Abbreviations

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    ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
    ABARESAustralian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences
    ARIMAAutoregressive Integrated Moving Average
    IFUIntensive Follow Up
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