Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced, Australia methodology

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Reference period
2020-21 financial year

Collection methodology


The 2020-21 Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced (VACP) collection measures agriculture’s contribution to the Australian economy. It provides data to support policy and planning by governments, industry, research organisations and regional communities.

VACP has three major categories:

  • The value of crop production (including fruit, vegetables, broadacre and hay)
  • The value of livestock disposals (including domestic slaughtering and export of live animals)
  • The value of livestock products (including wool, eggs and whole milk)

How the data is collected

Collection method

The method of collecting prices and costs for agricultural commodities varies between commodities. Price information is collected at a state and territory level and applied to substate levels which may not be reflective of prices in regional Australia.

Commodity price information is obtained from several sources. These currently include the Value of Agricultural Commodities Produced (VACP) survey, other ABS collections, including the Livestock Products quarterly survey and International Trade in Goods and Services, and non-ABS administrative sources, including marketing information and industry publications.

The VACP survey is sent to a range of wholesalers, brokers, manufacturers, transport companies and auctioneers to obtain a range of factory, fresh, trade, pool, transport, marketing, and packaging costs for a range of horticulture, broadacre and livestock product prices and costs.

Administration data is sourced directly from several industry groups.

Quantity data for most crops are sourced directly from the 2020–21 Agricultural Census and relate to the year ended 30 June 2021.

A list of the crops, livestock disposals and livestock products data items released from the 2020-21 VACP collection are below.

Data item listing

Crops, livestock disposals and livestock products data items published since the 2015-16 reference period.

How the data is processed

Calculating VACP

Gross prices are those realised at the point(s) of valuation where ownership of the commodity is relinquished by the agricultural industry. For example, fruit can be sold into the fresh fruit market, to factories for processing and/or exported.

Gross value for broadacre crops and hay is derived by calculating an average price per tonne for each commodity by weighting pool, trade, and export prices through a mixture of VACP survey, administration data and ABS export data values.  This price is then multiplied by quantity.

Gross value for fruit, vegetables is derived by calculating an average price per tonne or kilogram (commodity dependent) using wholesale fresh prices, factory input prices and ABS export data values. This price is then multiplied by quantity.

Gross value for livestock slaughter and other disposals along with livestock products - wool are calculated from the Livestock Products quarterly survey and ABS export data values, adjustments are made to account for the value of wool on skins from sheep and lambs slaughtered as well as live exports.

Remaining commodity data (horticulture and livestock products) are calculated from a mixture of the VACP survey, other ABS collections, non-ABS administrative data sources.

Survey and administrative sources are used to remove marketing and transport costs to calculate a local value.

Example: Calculating gross value for banana production in Australia

MarketProduction quantity (tonnes)Average market price ($)Market value ($)
Fresh fruit




Factory input




Overseas exports




Total (all markets)


derived price 580

Gross value 29,000

In the example shown above the gross value of bananas is $29,000, the sum of the market values for fresh, factory input and exports.

The local value estimates in this publication are derived by subtracting transport and marketing costs from gross value. They are the value placed on recorded production at the place of production, including indirect taxes.

Transport and marketing costs are the costs of moving the agricultural product from the place of production (i.e. farm) to the market place. These include freight, cost of containers, commission, insurance, storage, handling and other charges necessarily incurred by the producer in delivering commodities to the market place.

Reliability of estimates (sample error)

The estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from agricultural businesses that responded to the survey. As not all businesses responded, the estimates are subject to sampling variability and may differ from the estimates that would have been produced if information had been obtained from all businesses.

The most common measure of the likely difference resulting from not all businesses responding is given by the standard error. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one standard error from the estimate that would have been obtained if all businesses had responded, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors.

In this publication, relative standard error (RSE) is used to measure 'sampling' variability. RSEs are calculated by expressing the standard error as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. Estimates should be used with caution that have:

  • RSEs between 10% and 25% - this level of sample variability may be too high for some purposes
  • RSEs between 25% and 50% - this level of sample variability may be too high for most practical purposes
  • RSEs greater than 50% - this level of sample variability is considered unreliable for general use.

Estimates in this publication also use price information from non-ABS sources, including marketing authorities and industry sources, for which RSEs are not calculated. The RSEs in this publication refer only to the production component of the estimates. 

Confidentiality and rounding

Some detailed estimates in this publication have been confidentialised to avoid potential identification of agricultural holdings and businesses in accordance with the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and the Census and Statistics Determination 2018.

Where detailed estimates have been suppressed for reasons of confidentiality, they have been included in relevant aggregated totals.

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

How the data is released

Geographic classification

National, state/territory and substate estimates are presented in this publication, including estimates for the following regions:

  • Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) regions
  • Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2) regions
  • Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions
  • Local Government Area (LGA) regions
  • Murray Darling Basin (MDB) region

National, state/territory, SA4 and SA2 estimates have been produced using Edition 3 of the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).  Other regional estimates have been produced using area-based correspondences from SA2 estimates:

  • LGA estimates - ASGS 2021 SA2 to 2021 LGA correspondence
  • NRM estimates - ASGS 2021 SA2 to 2016 NRM Regions correspondence
  • MDB estimates - are aggregates of NRM estimates

Substate output

While substate estimates may be fit for purpose to inform some decision making, it is noted that the methodology used to produce these estimates was not designed with this level of disaggregated output in mind. Price information is collected at a state and territory level and applied to substate levels which may not be reflective of prices in regional Australia.

Related publications

Other ABS publications containing agricultural data are listed on the ABS’ Agricultural Statistics page. The ABS also issues 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.


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General acknowledgment

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.


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