Census shows production in NSW is up, water usage down.
Census shows production in NSW is up, water usage down. Renee Albrecht

Agricultural Census returns interesting results

NEW South Wales accounted for 23% of the value of Australia's total agricultural production, nationally worth $56 billion in 2015-16, according to agricultural census data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS director of environment and agriculture statistics, Lauren Binns, said across Australia in 2015-16 there were a total of 85,681 agricultural businesses with 26,124 operating in NSW.

The businesses contributed $13.1 billion to the national economy.

"Some of the interesting data for NSW was an increase in orange production which rose by 26,000 tons (15%) to 193,879 tonnes in 2015-16. The value of the orange crop in that year rose 14 per cent to $148 million,” Ms Binns said.

"The production of cotton increased by 43% to 363 million kilograms, and in 2015-16 was worth a total of $874 million.

"And the NSW sheep and lamb flock of 26 million head was 38% of the total Australian flock at June 30, 2016.”

NSW data showed a 16% drop in water use for agriculture - down from 3,116,490ML in 2014-15 to 2,610,856ML in 2015-16.

Across Australia the total volume of water used decreased by 3% to 9,157,291ML.

On a national level

barley production increased by 6%, however wheat production fell by 5% and canola fell by 21% with reductions in the area planted in WA and poor conditions in SA and Vic.

Australia's most valuable crop types were wheat ($6.2 billion); fruits, nuts and grapes ($5.6 billion) and vegetables ($3.6 billion).

National meat cattle herd only fell by 1% with favourable conditions in Queensland and the Northern Territory contributing to an earlier than anticipated restocking of cattle.

Dairy herds fell by 2%, while sheep flock fell by 1%.

The agricultural census surveyed around 104,000 agricultural businesses across Australia.

It is the ABS's largest business collection and one of the major sources of information about the Australian agricultural industry.

Further details and fact sheets can be downloaded for free from the ABS website, www.abs.gov.au.

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