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10/10/13 09:39

Improved prospects for Scottish harvest

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s cereal harvest is expected to make a partial recovery in 2013 after poor weather last year caused the largest fall in yields for more than two decades.

In total, close to three million tonnes of cereals are expected this year, an increase of a quarter of a million tonnes on 2012. Despite the setback in productivity caused by last year’s weather, the longer term trend of improving yields continues, with the average cereal yield for the last 10 years seven per cent higher than in the previous decade.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the latest estimates of the Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest. The figures show that the latest increase is due to an anticipated 11 per cent improvement in overall cereal yields. This follows a 15 per cent fall in yields last year. The total area of land sown has remained largely unchanged, though oats have replaced wheat and oilseed rape in some areas.

After a difficult start to the year, growing conditions improved and allowed a relatively straight forward harvest, although the high degree of variability across the country introduces additional uncertainty around current estimates.

Spring barley is estimated to increase by 15 per cent to 1.7 million tonnes and winter barley by six per cent to 294,000 tonnes. With both higher yields and areas, production of oats is estimated to rise by around 80 per cent to 195,000 tonnes. This is in part due to the replacement of wheat and oilseed rape which experienced a poor start in some places. Production is expected to fall by six per cent for wheat, to 630,000 tonnes, and two per cent for oilseed rape, to 104,000 tonnes.

Scottish cereals are still being harvested and these figures are very much provisional estimates. Final harvest estimates from the Cereal Production Survey will be announced by Scotland’s Chief Statistician in December. Final estimates of overall cereal production are typically within five percent of the early estimates.

These early statistics were agreed by a panel of experts from the Scottish cereal industry and professional statisticians at the annual Crop Report Meeting. They are used to assess the economic well-being of the cereal sector and in determining impacts on the market, and are required by law by the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

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 publication is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/01073

This publication contains provisional estimates of the 2013 cereal and oilseed rape harvest, along with commentary and graphics on longer term trends. It also contains a comparison of how historic provisional estimates compare with final results from the Cereal Production Survey.

Interactive online charts showing production trends and the influence of changes in yields and areas grown are available at:
http://scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Agriculture-Fisheries/Publications/InteractiveCerealCharts

Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.Scotland.gov.uk/agricstats

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About