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29/01/14 09:38

Contrasting years for farm income

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Estimates of income from farming in 2012, together with a first look at 2013, show the varying profitability of the sector in recent years.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today published Total Income from Farming Estimates for Scotland 2011-2013, which contains near-final estimates of Total Income From Farming (TIFF) for 2012, an initial estimate of 2013 TIFF, and revisions for previous years. The figures show income fell by 18 per cent in 2012 compared to the previous year, with initial estimates suggesting most of that drop was recovered in 2013.

Agriculture was worth £700 million to the Scottish economy in 2012, down from £840 million in 2011, mainly due to the poor weather that year. Although not all the data are yet in, income for 2013 may have bounced back to about £830 million, which, once inflation is taken into account, is only five per cent short of 2011 levels.

The particularly good performers in 2013 look likely to be potatoes, which profited from very high prices at the start of the year and then a much better harvest. Income from milk also saw an increase, with average prices rising from 27.9p per litre in 2012 to 31.3p per litre in 2013.

However, livestock, which accounts for well over a third of farm output in Scotland, did less well, seeing an estimated four per cent fall in value. Likewise cereals, which account for about 15 per cent of output, also saw a decrease.

Total costs were estimated to have risen in line with inflation, but there was a large increase in the cost of feedstuffs for the second year running. Feed now accounts for 24 per cent of costs, compared to only 17 per cent a decade ago. However, labour costs do not appear to have risen in 2013, and there have been price reductions in red diesel and other fuel.

Subsidies amounted to £554 million in 2012 and £562 million in 2013, and remain an important factor in the profitability of farming.

In the longer term, income from farming has been rising steadily since a dip in the late nineties. Income in 2012 was the sixth highest in the past ten years, with 2013 looking like the second highest.

The information is used to monitor the performance of the industry, but also as part of the calculation of Scottish GDP and in the UK National Accounts. The 2013 figures will be revised next year, once more complete data are available.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff, free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publications can be accessed at:

For the first time, cattle numbers from the Cattle Tracing Scheme database were used in the calculations, replacing cattle data collected from farmers or using assumptions. There has also been a comprehensive review of the TIFF methodology which has resulted in revisions to previous years’ estimates.

Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: