Agricultural commodity data have been collected in Australia since the 1860s. The Agricultural Census (AC) was usually conducted annually at the end of March, until 1996-1997, when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), to ensure better alignment with other ABS surveys, changed the collection period to 30 June. The current strategy envisages a five-year-interval census with sample surveys in inter-censal years. Subsequent ACs have been conducted on a quinquennial basis since 2000/2001. The metadata review and data presented here refer to the AC 2010/2011.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The census scope covered agricultural activities (agricultural and livestock production).
Agriculture & Rural Development
Land (policy, resource management)
Forests & Forestry
Food (production, crisis)
The statistical unit, for the purposes of the AC 2010/2011, was a "business", identified by its Australian Business Number (ABN); a geographic split was applied for ABNs operating over multiple locations. Units were identified as undertaking agricultural activity if any of the primary or secondary productive activities of those businesses fall within the Agriculture Subdivision (Subdivision 01), as defined by the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).
Producers and sponsors
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Other: government agencies and industry bodies
The frame used for the AC 2010/2011 was drawn from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR). The ABSBR has been used for ABS agricultural collections since 2005-2006. The AC 2010/2011 was designed as a complete enumeration (census) of agricultural businesses listed on the ABSBR that met the scope requirements.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Mail Questionnaire [mail]
Data Collection Notes
Paper survey forms were despatched to all in-scope agricultural businesses. Forms were returned to the ABS using reply-paid (postage-paid) envelopes. Included with the form was a cover letter outlining the AC 2010/2011, as well as details that enabled an alternate mode of response to be provided - specifically, via an electronic form (using Computer-assisted Web Interviewing, or CAWI).
One questionnaire type was used for the AC 2010/2011 data collection. Of the 16 core items recommended by FAO to be collected in the 2010 WCA round, 10 were covered by the census questionnaire:
- Land Use
- Industry structure
a. DATA PROCESSING AND ARCHIVING
OCR was used for scanning and extracting data from paper forms. The CAWI e-forms infrastructure was developed by IBM. Manual data entry is restricted to data taken over the phone and when correcting OCR scanning issues (error repair). A range of SAS-based tools (programmes, projects and code) was used to interrogate estimates and identify anomalies, either at the unit (micro) or estimate (macro) level. Editing of unit-level data was undertaken via the Blaise/Editors Tool Kit (ETK). Estimation processes used SAS-based projects (software) with ABS-developed interfaces allowing for setup and operations. Imputation also heavily relies on SAS; however, the ABS has developed an interface to allow for setup (parameters, etc.) in the IBM Lotus Notes environment.
b . CENSUS DATA QUALITY
The overall response rate achieved for the AC 2010/2011 was 88 percent. Intensive follow-up of significant (important) units was undertaken to minimize the impact of non-response bias and to maximise the accuracy of small area estimates. The main measure of accuracy of estimates from the AC 2010/2011 was indicated by calculating relative standard errors, which were assigned to each estimate produced and released.
Preliminary census results were available in November 2011 and the final results were released in June 2012. The final AC 2010/2011 results were published on the ABS website in three publications.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
National Information Consultancy Services
ABS House 45 Benjamin Way,
Belconnen ACT 2617,
Postal address: Locked Bag 10 Belconnen ACT 2616, Australia
Telephone: (+61) 2 9268 4909
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses