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18/12/13 09:30

Increase in harvest estimates

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

Revised cereal harvest estimates for Scotland show higher than expected levels of production in 2013. Final estimates of the Scottish cereal harvest in the year to October 31, 2013 are around 56,000 tonnes higher than earlier provisional estimates, at 2.9 million tonnes. Yields over the year are now estimated to have increased by 13 per cent; compared to the 11 per cent rise expected from provisional results.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the final estimates of the Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest. The figures show that the increase over the past year is due to an estimated 13 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.

Production estimates for spring barley, wheat and oilseed rape have all been revised upwards while estimates have been reduced for winter barley and oats. However, statisticians have noted an increase in unusable survey returns due to whole cropping of cereals intended for combine harvesting – usually a result of poor quality crops. Because whole cropped cereals are not weighed by farmers they do not contribute to production estimates. Overall production is therefore estimated to be two per cent higher than earlier estimates.

Despite the setback in productivity caused by last year’s weather, both sets of estimates have shown a longer term trend of improving yields. The average cereal yield for the last 10 years is estimated to be seven per cent higher than in the previous decade.

Spring barley production is estimated to have increased by 18 per cent to 1.7 million tonnes and winter barley by one per cent to 284,000 tonnes. With both higher yields and areas, production of oats is estimated to have risen by 73 per cent to 187,000 tonnes. This is in part due to the replacement of wheat and oilseed rape which experienced a poor start in some places. Instead of the expected fall in oilseed rape, production is now estimated to have increased by five per cent to 112,000 tonnes. Wheat production is estimated to have fallen by three per cent to 653,000 tonnes.

The revised figures come from the cereal production survey and update provisional estimates published in October. Early statistics were agreed by a panel of experts from the Scottish cereal industry and professional statisticians at the annual Crop Report Meeting. The estimates 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/01085.

This publication contains final 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 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