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12/06/13 09:24

Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture and the Agriculture Facts And Figures pocketbook.

The Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture provides an in-depth report on the sector, covering its structure and financial performance, with specific sections looking at crops, livestock, labour and some comparisons with other UK nations. It also contains an historical comparison with the census of 100 years ago.

Also published today, Agriculture Facts and Figures contains key Scottish agricultural statistics along with selected UK and EU comparisons, and is available as a small pocketbook. Commentary relating to the tables contained in the pocketbook is available online.

Both publications are produced in hardcopy, and the pocketbook will be handed out free of charge at the Royal Highland Show later this month.

The following points provide brief examples of the type of additional analysis contained in the Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture.

Scottish agricultural performance:

Current headline statistics:

  • Initial estimates suggest that Total Income From Farming (TIFF) fell by £111 million to £635 million between 2011 and 2012, though this will be revised in January. This represented a fall of 15 per cent before inflation is accounted for but a fall of 19 per cent in real terms
  • Average Farm Business Income (FBI) in 2011-12 was £45,000 a decrease of £1,000 (three per cent) from 2010-11, and of £2,000 over five years (accounting for inflation)

Examples of additional detail to be published in ERSA:

  • Agricultural Gross Value Added (GVA) accounts for less than one per cent of total Scottish GVA. However, this masks the fact that agriculture is the first stage in producing output for additional processing in downstream sectors (for example, abattoirs & meat processing; dairy products and the whisky industry)
  • Around a quarter of Scottish farm businesses surveyed did not generate enough income to remunerate unpaid labour invested in the business with the minimum agricultural wage
  • In 2011-12, dairy farms appeared to generate the greatest incomes, with an average FBI of £80,000 per farm, though in each sector there was a wide range in results
  • Average farm incomes have only recently returned to levels seen in the mid-1990s, according to the Net Farm Income (NFI) measure. But some - such as cattle and sheep, dairy and mixed farms - achieved the highest incomes of the last 20 years in 2011-12
  • The liabilities of Scottish agriculture have risen 24 per cent between 2003 and 2012 to £2.4 billion, representing six per cent of total asset value


Current headline statistics (compared with 2011):

  • Cereal areas increased by 10,600 hectares (2.4 per cent), while the area of potatoes decreased by 1,500 hectares (4.9 per cent)
  • The value of barley rose £22 million (eight per cent), as higher prices and area outweighed lower yields. Several sectors took a greater hit, with the value of potatoes estimated to have fallen £40 million (20 per cent) and wheat falling £23 million

Examples of additional detail to be published in ERSA:

  • Over the past ten years the output value of crops has increased by £280 million (47 per cent) to £876 million. Horticulture (62 per cent increase) has been particularly strong
  • Accounting for inflation, the average farm business income of cereal farms decreased between 07-08 and 11-12 by around £25,000, from £75,000 to £50,000. General cropping farms saw a fall of £35,000, from £86,000 to £50,000. The falls were due to a rise in input costs, particularly fertiliser and labour, and some falls in prices
  • The overall gross margin for crop enterprises ranged from £612/hectare for spring oats enterprises to £3,391/hectare for potato enterprises


Current headline statistics (compared with 2011):

  • The number of cattle decreased by 15,500 (one per cent) to 1.79 million, sheep fell by 65,200 (one per cent) to 6.74 million, pigs by 26,600 (seven per cent) to 363,400, and poultry increased by 168,000 (six per cent) to 14.7 million
  • The dairy sector benefited from four per cent higher milk prices, while finished cattle and calves saw a ten per cent increase in price

Examples of additional detail to be published in ERSA:

  • Most of Scotland’s dairy cows (which totalled 182,184 in June 2012) were located in the South West across three main areas; Dumfries & Galloway (74,530 or 41 per cent), Ayrshire (40,259 or 22 per cent) and the Clyde Valley (23,679 or 13 per cent). By contrast, Scotland’s beef cows (which totalled 452,438 in 2012) were concentrated in four areas; Grampian (89,995 or 20 per cent), Dumfries & Galloway (85,317 or 19 per cent), Highland (48,850 or 11 per cent) and the Scottish Borders (44,151 or ten per cent)
  • Total beef production in 2012 (including cull) was at 170,000 tonnes, a similar level to 2003, though in most intervening years the volume was higher. Clean finished cattle prices have risen by 74 per cent (from an average of £1.82/kg in 2003 to £3.17/kg in 2011), and a further 11 per cent in 2012 to £3.50/kg


Current headline statistics (compared with 2011):

  • The number of people working in agriculture was 68,400, up 630

Examples of additional detail to be published in ERSA:

  • In June 2012, over half of the agricultural workforce was employed in Grampian, Highland, Tayside and Dumfries & Galloway. Of the total 6,500 casual and seasonal staff in Scotland, 45 per cent were located in Tayside. Tayside and Fife were characterised by having a large casual and seasonal component to their workforce (34 and 28 per cent of the total workforce respectively), supporting the seasonal demand for harvesting fruit and vegetables
  • 52 per cent of holdings had a working occupier while 25 per cent had a working spouse. In terms of the total workforce, occupiers and spouses made up 60 per cent of the total

UK comparisons

Examples of additional detail to be published in ERSA:

  • Scotland has 18 per cent of the total cattle in the UK and 21 per cent of the UK sheep. Scotland’s proportion of UK pigs is eight per cent and nine per cent of the UK poultry population

Notes to editors

These statistics were produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:

The full statistical publications can be accessed at:

Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture:

Agriculture Facts & Figures:

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