This publication contains experimental estimates of Australia’s sugarcane production in 2019-20. These experimental estimates are produced using industry and government data sources.
The experimental sugarcane estimates are presented on the following Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) (2016 edition) regions:
- Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4)
- Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2)
All experimental sugarcane estimates are available as data cubes (Excel xls) and comma separated value (csv) files attached to this publication.
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). This register contains data of the quantity of sugarcane delivered to a processing establishment and business address information for all producers during the (2019-20) harvest period. It is supplied, along with other primary industries data, by DAWE 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 DAWE 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 identification of a particular person or organisation. The ABS must also comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and the Australian Privacy Principles contained within.
Australian Sugar Milling Council statistics
Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) releases aggregate sugarcane data from information provided by sugar mills on its website: https://asmc.com.au/policy-advocacy/sugar-industry-overview/statistics/. This information includes statistics on Area Harvested for Milling and Tonnes of Cane Crushed for Australia and the 5 sugarcane producing regions; Northern, Herbert-Burdekin, Mackay-Proserpine, Southern (all in Queensland) and New South Wales.
Maps derived from satellite data of sugarcane cropping areas
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science produce cropping maps derived from satellite data. These maps identify broad groups of crops grown in Queensland's Strategic Cropping Land, for annual summer and winter growing seasons (see: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/management/mapping/statewide-monitoring/crops).
Cropping areas for sugarcane for the 2019 growing season were used as a validation source to identify SA2s where sugarcane is likely to be grown in Queensland. (State of Queensland (Department of Environment and Science). Updated data available at http://qldspatial.information.qld.gov.au/catalogue).
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), within the DAWE produce land use maps derived from satellite data for Australia. The Catchment scale land use of Australia - Commodities - Update December 2018 was used as a validation source to identify SA2 where sugarcane is likely to be grown within New South Wales. (ABARES 2019, Catchment Scale Land Use of Australia – Commodities – Update December 2018 version 2, ABARES, Canberra, November CC BY 4.0. https://doi.org/10.25814/5c887edfb0bbb).
The following steps provide a summary of the method that was used to create the experimental sugarcane production estimates for 2019-20:
1. Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register data was geocoded to allocate it to a location and assign an SA2 and ASMC region.
2. The satellite derived sugarcane maps for Queensland and New South Wales were used to measure the area of sugarcane within each SA2. This area of sugarcane was then benchmarked against the ASMC regions’ area harvested data to create an adjusted area of sugarcane grown within each SA2.
3. The small number of Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register records that could not be allocated a location within an ASMC region were summed and redistributed across all SA2s where sugarcane was grown. This redistribution was based on the adjusted area of sugarcane within each SA2. For example, if an SA2 contained 1% of the total sugarcane growing area it would receive 1% of the unallocated Levy Payer tonnes of sugarcane.
4. SA2s containing large urban centres received a disproportionate number of levy records through the geocoding process. This is because records with incomplete address information are coded to the centre of a locality which often represents an urban area. Records which were geocoded to an urban centre based on the centroid of a locality were identified and redistributed across all SA2s within the ASMC region. This redistribution was based on the adjusted area of sugarcane growing within each SA2 in the ASMC region. For example, if an SA2 contained 5% of the total sugarcane growing area within an ASMC region it would receive 5% of the redistributed Levy Payer tonnes of sugarcane.
5. A small number of Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register records produced very large volumes of sugarcane that related to an area broader than just the SA2 they were geocoded to. These records were identified by comparing tonnes of sugarcane produced with the adjusted area of sugarcane growing within the SA2. These records were redistributed across all SA2s within the ASMC region based on the adjusted area of sugarcane growing within each SA2 in the ASMC region. For example, if an SA2 contained 5% of the total sugarcane growing area within an ASMC region it would receive 5% of the redistributed Levy Payer tonnes of sugarcane.
6. SA2 estimates were benchmarked to ensure alignment with the ASMC regional totals. Prior to this benchmarking the totals from the Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register data was within 0.01% of the ASMC total for Australia. At the regional levels the differences were:
- Northern 5.96%
- Herbert-Burdekin 1.36%
- Mackay-Proserpine 0.71%
- Southern 0.57%
- New South Wales 7.18%
Scope and coverage
The scope of these experimental estimates was to create estimates for Australia’s sugarcane production in 2019-20.
The information reported thought the Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register represents all growers who delivered sugarcane to a processing establishment during the harvest period, for more information see https://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/levies/rates/sugar-cane.
Rounding, confidentiality and accuracy
SA2 totals were rounded to the nearest 100 tonnes to reflect the level of accuracy provided by this method and the experimental nature of this work.
The statistical methods used to produce the experimental sugarcane estimates ensure that no individual Sugar Cane Levy Payer Register records are identifiable.
These are experimental estimates and although this data is consistent with other published data from ASMC at the national and regional level it should be used with caution, particularly when using the SA2 level statistics. SA2s with less than 10,000 tonnes of sugarcane should be used with extreme caution as these smaller totals are likely to be disproportionately dependent on the data redistribution process described above.
ABS agricultural commodity (including sugarcane) area, production and value statistics, sourced from the Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey and Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced collections for 2018 -19, are available in:
Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 2018-19 (cat. no. 7121.0).
Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia, 2018-19 (cat. no. 7503.0).
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
As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.
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.