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09/10/13 10:38

Difficult winter highlighted in latest farming figures

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The effects of last winter’s poor weather are demonstrated in the latest comprehensive set of figures on farming in Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest results from the June 2013 Agricultural Census.

There was a noticeable move from winter-planted to spring-planted crops, with wheat down 14,000 hectares, offset by an increase of 7,000 hectares in spring barley and 8,000 hectares in spring oats. The areas planted with potatoes, oilseed rape, and crops for feeding to livestock all saw decreases, with a small increase in the area of vegetables for human consumption.

Livestock numbers continued to decline with the total number of cattle down by two per cent to 1.80 million. Within this, the number of beef cattle fell two per cent to 725,950 with the number of dairy cattle remaining virtually unchanged on 2012. The number of calves fell by four per cent to 531,132.

There was also a further fall in the number of sheep, down two per cent to 6.57 million. This was chiefly due to a 167,000, or five per cent, decrease in lambs, much of which was related to the poor weather.

Pigs numbers saw a large fall, down 12 per cent to 319,000, likely to be linked to the reduction in meat processing facilities, but part of a long-running trend. Poultry saw a four per cent decline to 14.2 million, though this is within the normal fluctuations of poultry numbers.

The amount of agricultural land that was rented again fell, by 21,000 hectares or two per cent, to 1.37 million hectares. This means that 24 per cent of agricultural land is rented compared to 30 per cent in 2003. There were an estimated 7,100 holdings with tenancy arrangements, down 370 or five per cent since 2012.

Other figures released show that the area growing strawberries and blackcurrants increased, but raspberries continued to decline. There were 67,400 people employed on agricultural holdings, which was about average for the last ten years. About 79 per cent of the area of Scotland is agricultural land, in 52,700 agricultural holdings.

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:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/10/5891

For the first time, cattle numbers were collected from the Cattle Tracing Scheme database rather than asking farmers to supply these data. Since 2009 much of the information is also taken from the Single Farm Payments application form. The rest of the figures are collected on forms.

These statistics are used by government and stakeholders to monitor and assess the economic well-being of the agricultural sector and for policy evaluation, and to fulfil statutory requirements for the European Commission. Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Agriculture-Fisheries

More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About