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Reinventing Australian agricultural statistics

Lack of access to reliable and robust statistics about agriculture is a continuing frustration for many in the industry. The Australian Farm Institute has experienced this frustration, with the analysis for several of our research projects over the last few years constrained by availability of appropriate data. The problem of inconsistent or missing data and statistics is not only confined to niche issues or small sub-sectors of the industry but also extends to significant policy areas, such as increasing energy prices and climate change. 
AFI has recently investigated the impact on Australian agriculture of rising energy prices, the exposure to risk and the mitigation options available, and the need for a national climate-smart agriculture strategy. These projects all focus on issues of national importance where there could be reasonable expectations of available data to inform policy development, yet analysis for each project has highlighted the need for further development of quality data and improved statistics. 
 The dearth of reliable and respected agricultural statistics is not a new issue and indeed gaps in official agricultural statistics have been commented on for many years. What is new, however, is the abundance of alternative data sources emerging in agriculture, such as electronic farm management platforms, satellite imagery, IoT sensors and commercial data. This abundance is prompting stakeholders to question whether official statistics agencies should be utilising this data to provide more accurate, timely and reliable statistics covering a wider range of issues for the sector.

Full report: pp. 1-76 (80 pages), May 2019

Australian Farm Institute

Authors:  McRobert, K, Darragh, L, Laurie, A & Heath, R (2019)

ISBN 978-1-921808-45-6 (Print and Web)



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