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4610.0.55.008 - Experimental Estimates of the Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2000–01 to 2006–07 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/05/2009  First Issue
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Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (GVIAP) estimates have been a core component of the ABS Water Account (cat. no. 4610.0) which is produced every four years. Growing demand from policy-makers and other users has led to an increasing demand for the ABS to produce more accurate and frequent estimates of GVIAP. This product presents the ABS response to this information request.

Recently, the ABS developed an improved methodology for calculating GVIAP, which is described in the information paper Methods of estimating the Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (cat. no. 4610.0.55.006). The experimental estimates presented here use this improved method.

The tables in this product relate to the reference period 2000-01 to 2006-07 for Australia, States and Territories and the Murray-Darling Basin.

These estimates are presented in current prices, and therefore changes between years do not show the impact of changes in prices over time (see Explanatory Notes).

The ABS plans to release GVIAP estimates on an annual basis. It is anticipated that future issues of the product will include additional information including chain volume measures at the national level and some further regional breakdown.

ABS welcomes comments on these experimental estimates. Please contact Steven May on 02 6252 5593 or email at


In 2006-07, irrigated agricultural land comprised less than 0.5% of all agricultural land in Australia. The gross value of production from irrigation was $12,319 million, which represented 34% of the total gross value of agricultural production. In 2000-01, GVIAP was $9,669 million and represented 28% of the total gross value of agricultural production.

In 2006-07, fruit and nuts contributed the highest value to total irrigated production of $2,913 million, followed by vegetables ($2,526 million) and dairy production ($1,697 million). These three commodities accounted for 58% of total GVIAP in 2006-07.

During 2000-01, these same commodities contributed most to total GVIAP, however in a different order – vegetables accounted for $1,626 million or 17%, dairy production accounted for $1,554 million or 16%, while fruit and nuts accounted for $1,455 million or 15%.

There are some commodities for which the value of irrigated production contributes significantly to the total value of agricultural production. The entire value of rice production in Australia ($55 million in 2006-07) is produced under irrigation. The irrigated value of production from cotton, grapes, fruit and nuts, vegetables and nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf in 2006-07 accounted for 80% or more of total production for each of those products.

In 2006-07, the ratio of GVIAP per megalitre of water applied varied greatly between commodity groups. The groups with the lowest ratio were rice ($230 per ML), other broadacre crops ($293 per ML), cereals for grain and seed ($331 per ML) and total hay production ($385 per ML). The groups with the highest ratio were nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf ($16,470 per ML), vegetables for human consumption and seed ($6,104 per ML) and fruit and nuts ($4,493 per ML).

Over the period between 2002-03 and 2006-07 (note that Volume of Water Applied data were not collected in 2000-01 and 2001-02), many commodities showed only a slight increase in the GVIAP generated for each megalitre of water applied. However, some commodities showed large increases in the value of irrigated production per megalitre. The largest increase was for nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf, which went up from $6,005 per ML to $16,470 per megalitres (up 174% over that time period). Other commodities showing increases were vegetables (from $3,424 to $6,104) and fruit and nuts (from $2,550 to $4,493). It should be noted that the increase shown for nurseries, cut flowers and cultivated turf may also be as a result of improvements to collection methodology (see Explanatory Notes).

The State which contributed the most to the value of irrigated production during 2006-07 was Queensland - $3,520 million or 29% of total GVIAP. During 2000-01 the value of irrigated production generated in Queensland was $2,172 million, which was 22% of the value of total irrigated production for Australia.

Victoria’s contribution to total GVIAP was $3,303 million (or 27%) in 2006-07 compared with a similar proportion (27% or $2,601 million) in 2000-01. For New South Wales, the GVIAP in 2000-01 was $2,583 million or 27% of the total, however, the national share of irrigated production for New South Wales declined to 21% of the total GVIAP ($2,629 million) in 2006-07.

Statistics for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) relating to irrigation are only available for 2000-01, 2005-06 and 2006-07. In 2006-07 the MDB had irrigated production to the value of $4,936 million, or 40% of Australia’s total value of irrigated production. In contrast the value of irrigated production in the MDB during 2000-01 was $5,085 million, or 53% of the total value of irrigated production for the nation at that time.

Irrigated production in the MDB accounted for 39% of the total value of all agricultural commodities produced in the Basin in 2006-07.

The commodities that contributed most to the value of irrigated production during 2006-07 in the MDB were fruit and nuts ($1,207 million or 24%), dairy production ($763 million or 15%) and grapes ($651 million or 13%).

During 2000-01, cotton had been the commodity that contributed most to the total value of irrigated production ($1,111) or 22% of total GVIAP for the MDB. However by 2006-07 this commodity only accounted for $457 million or 9% of total GVIAP in the MDB. This is partly reflected in the decrease in the volume of water applied to cotton, with the volume decreasing from 1,574 GL in 2005-06 to 819 GL in 2006-07.

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